Buying glasses means more choices than just the frames. The evolution of lenses has made it possible to add many new features that improve your vision and comfort.

“Glasses today have become so much more than a medical device,” says Kari St. Louis, a certified optician. “They are fashionable and, like most technology, offer upgrades and add-ons that constantly are being enhanced.”

Here are three of the most useful ones you should know about.

Buying Glasses Tip 1: Anti-Reflective Coating

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Anti-reflective coating helps the lenses absorb the harsh glare from all kinds of light instead of entering your eye, St. Louis says. It works on sunlight, moonlight, light from computer screens and headlights, and so on. “This allows for clearer, crisper vision and relieves the fatigue and eye strain caused by trying to accommodate it,” she says.

Anti-reflective coatings do require some extra effort, however. “For all of its good qualities, you should know that cleaning anti-reflective coated lenses can be a process,” St. Louis says. “It’s best to use a clean microfiber cloth and a good spray meant for coated lenses or warm water and dish soap.”

Buying Glasses Tip 2: Light-Blocking Lenses

Photochromic and blue-blocking lenses can help protect your eyes from different kinds of light automatically. Photochromic lenses get darker in sunlight, making them a good fit for people who have outdoor jobs or are light sensitive, St. Louis says.

“When outside, where UV rays can hit the lens, the glasses will change into sunglasses,” she says. “When indoors, they will be as clear as regular lenses. They do take a few minutes to change either way, and do not work when in a car because windows are UV treated to protect the inside of your car.”

“Glasses today have become so much more than a medical device. They are fashionable and, like most technology, offer upgrades and add-ons that constantly are being enhanced.”

Blue-light blockers are becoming increasingly popular, St. Louis says, as more people use mobile devices. “Artificial blue light from electronics can cause glare, blurred vision up to one diopter, eyestrain, physical and mental fatigue, headaches, and it interferes with circadian rhythms because it lowers the production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep,” she says.

Computer lenses or blue-light blocking lenses can help. Be aware that they usually have a yellow tint to the lens that ranges from slightly noticeable to very noticeable, St. Louis says. “It’s recommended to have them as a second pair.”

Buying Glasses Tip 3: Thinner and Clearer Lenses

Advances in the manufacturing of lenses means they can be produced with more precision. The days of bottle-bottom glasses are mostly gone, as new techniques mean people with certain corrections can get thinner lenses.

“Thinner and lighter lenses are usually recommended for people who have a spherical correction of -/+ 4.00 or higher or an astigmatism of -/+2.00 or higher,” St. Louis says. “These lightweight materials are not just cosmetic but also allow for clearer vision and better peripheral vision.”

Digital lenses provide benefits as well. “These days every type of lens, from single vision to no-line multifocals, can be cut digitally,” St. Louis says. Digital-cut lenses are better than standard lenses because the prescription is electronically “imprinted” onto digital lenses, rather than molded into a cast and then the lens material being poured into that cast. “This eliminates peripheral distortions, aberrations in the lens, and allows for better customization,” St. Louis says.

PREVENTION

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*The policy or its provisions may vary or be unavailable in some states. The policy has exclusions and limitations which may affect any benefits payable. Underwritten by Starmount Life Insurance Company. CS-0079-E (09-17)