September 27, 2020
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May 19, 2021

Glass Vs Plastic Vs Polycarbonate Vs Trivex

The frame you choose while buying a pair of eyeglasses can have a huge impact on your appearance. But the lens you choose can influence not just appearance but also comfort and safety. Our customers often ask us: “Which is the best lens material?” while discussing the lens options for their new eyeglasses. In fact, there is no “perfect” lens material. Each material has its own advantages and drawbacks. Through this article, we aim to provide a brief idea about the available prescription lens materials.

There are mostly four types of lens materials.

Glass, Plastic, Polycarbonate, and Trivex.

Glass lenses

Glass lenses have the highest Abbe value, which translates to clarity. The higher the Abbe value, the clearer the lenses will be with fewer aberrations or distortions.
But since the creation of plastic lenses, glass lenses are rarely used in the industry because of the following reasons.

Broken Glasses

Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic—the added weight on your nose cold crate uncomfortable pressure points and marks. Glass lenses are easily breakable. If you drop your eyeglasses, most likely, the lenses will break into pieces. Another main flaw, which is often overlooked, is unexpected delays during the processing time. Breakage of glass during the fitting process is not uncommon. Apart from the tension because the order is getting delayed, this adds to the Optician’s cost, which is a major reason most opticians don’t offer glass lenses to their customers these days.


Polycarbonate lenses are a great choice for active people and kids – highly impact-resistant and lightweight, and they have a higher refractive index than CR39, aka plastic. A higher refractive index translates to thinner lenses, suitable for high prescriptions. Another great advantage is, Polycarbonate offers 100% UV protection.

Senior woman resting with closed eyes on exercise mat
Women wearing a rimless frame rests after yoga.

But they have a few inevitable cons as well. The Abbe value of Polycarbonate is 30- the lowest of all lens materials. Moreover, Polycarbonate is a softer material, which makes it more vulnerable to scratches.
At Optic One, we recommend Polycarbonate lenses only for those who really need it.
1) On safety glasses- Polycarbonate is the gold standard lens material for safety glasses because of their high impact resistance.
2) On Rimless Frames- Again, the impact resistance is the prime concern here. The lenses on rimless frames often break due to mishandling, and Poly is one of the best options.
3) For Kids- the impact resistance and 100 % UV protection make Polycarbonate a great choice for kids.


Trivex is a relatively new material and offers all the pros of Polycarbonate lenses. They are impact-resistant, light in weight, and offers 100% UV protection. It’s Abbe value (43-45) is higher than Poly (30), making it optically superior.
The Refractive index of Trivex is 1.53, which is lesser than the index of Poly (1.59). So for higher prescriptions, Trivex is not suitable as it will produce a thicker lens.


Since their introduction in 1947, plastic lenses have been the most common lens material. They are affordable, versatile, and have a way better break resistance than glass lenses.

happy woman choosing eyeglasses while male oculist standing near with another eyeglasses in optica

The plastic used for optical applications is made from high-quality raw materials, has impressive optical quality, and is available in various refractive indexes. The huge reduction in weight and the versatility make plastic lenses the go-to option for most of the prescriptions.

We hope this article can shed some light on the difference between the lens materials. At Optic One Opticals, we always make sure we recommend the right lens options to everyone based on their prescription and needs. If you have other questions not answered here, or if you’d like to comment on this post, you can leave them in the comments section below.

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