Picking frames that look right is tough enough. After that all-important decision, you still have to choose eyeglass lenses and coatings. Those decisions are key to how well you’ll see and how much you’ll spend. Americans shell out an average of $275 after insurance for new glasses, and most of that money is for lenses—not frames.
You can’t always rely on salespeople, who may work on commission, to guide you. But Consumer Reports’ expert steps will help.
Looking at Lenses
The two best-selling eyeglass lenses are the most basic ones: CR-39 and the polycarbonate, both plastic. (Few people now use glass, which is heavy and breakable.) If you have a single-vision prescription (glasses to see far away or close up), you can generally get by with CR-39 lenses. They can be inexpensive—we found them for $29 to $149—but they can look thick with stronger prescriptions.
A more durable, thinner, lighter, and more popular option is polycarbonate lenses, which we found for $9 to $205. Some retailers even offer lenses free of charge as part of packages. But if you need glasses to see both near and far, lens choices get more complex. Here are four, along with their national average costs:
- Progressives ($260) provide a smooth, gradual change in lens strength for seeing well at any distance. Consider them if you need glasses for distance and reading and find the split screen of bifocals or trifocals uncomfortable. Pricier than bifocals ($105), they can be made with CR-39, polycarbonate, or high-index lenses.
- High-index lenses ($150 for single vision, $350 for progressives) are thinner and lighter than CR-39 or polycarbonate lenses, and they will work for even the strongest prescriptions.
- High-definition lenses ($310 for progressive HD lenses) offer sharper vision and better peripheral vision than standard technology. You might want to opt for them if you have more complex visual problems, such as cataracts or corneal scars. They can be made with CR-39, polycarbonate, or high-index lenses.
Read more about the article by Sue Byrne on http://www.consumerreports.org/eyeglass-stores/how-to-get-the-best-eyeglass-lenses/