Focus on lenses
Focus on lenses
- How do I protect my eyes at work?
If you work outdoors you may need to protect your eyes from hazards like grit and dust as well as from regular exposure to UV light. Whether you are a gardener, traffic warden, police or road worker, specialist lens options, such as photochromic lenses, can help working outdoors more comfortable.
When photochromic lenses are exposed to ultraviolet rays they darken and provide visual comfort in direct sunlight. The depth of tint will vary depending on the extent of the light and the outside temperature. The depth of tint fades when moving out of the direct sunlight returning to a pale tint indoors or to almost clear at night. You can work wearing photochromic lenses without changing spectacles, a big benefit. Some photochromic lenses are available in Trivex and polycarbonate material if you also need impact protection.
If you work in a more hazardous setting there are laws to ensure that your employer takes safety seriously. Depending on your role, you may be required to wear protective eyewear, either all the time or when on the factory floor. Safety eyewear can be prescription or non-prescription and come in a variety of options including spectacles, goggles and shields.
Safety spectacles have side shields attached to the side of the frames to avoid any foreign objects entering the eye and surrounding area and it is likely that the lenses supplied will be plastic (thickened CR39), toughened glass (thermally or chemically), low energy impact materials, or materials such as Polycarbonate or Trivex.
Ask your registered dispensing optician for advice on the right eye protection for you.
- How do I protect my eyes at home?
In every day life, a good pair of spectacle lenses won’t just help you see better. They will protect your eyes too. Talk to your dispensing optician about lens coatings which resist smudges, dust, scratches, glare and repel water. You should also think about protecting your eyes against UV light on a daily basis.
- How do I protect my eyes on holiday?
If you are off to sunnier climes, have you thought about protection from UV light? Don’t just slap on the sunscreen: also remember to pack a pair of sunglasses. It’s not advised to put sunscreen on or near your eyes and lids, so your sunspecs are the only protection that your eyes have. Sunglasses need to fit your face well in order to be effective at stopping UV light, so make sure that you get advice when choosing. Always look for the CE mark when buying lenses. Speak to a registered dispensing optician for advice on prescription sunglasses and fitting.
- What are the best lenses for daytime driving?
There are different lenses and filters that can improve your driving experience. Polarised lenses will help reduce glare reflected a wet road. Tints aren’t recommended for night driving, but some people find a yellow tint is good for enhanced contrast during the daytime. Brown or grey tints don’t affect your colour perception which makes then a good choice. If you pick lenses with the darkest part of the tint at the top and less intensity at the bottom it is easier to see the instrument panel inside the car. Read more about driving and your eyes. Talk to the registered dispensing optician in your local optical practice as they are trained and educated in the latest products and technology to help you improve your driving experience.
- My eyes get tired when driving, what should I do?
Have you had a recent eye test? The first thing to do is to check that your specs are up to date and your eyes are healthy. Then talk to a dispensing optician about the different types of lenses available. There are some lenses that are specifically designed for driving. If you usually wear varifocals and do a lot of driving, there are varifocals specifically designed for this purpose. Read more about driving and your eyes. Talk to the registered dispensing optician in your local optical practice as they are trained and educated in the latest products and technology to help you improve your driving experience.
- I struggle with glare from oncoming headlights when driving at night, what tints or filters might help?
When wearing spectacles for driving, it is recommended that you ask for an anti-reflection coating to reduce the effects of glare. This is the best solution for driving at night, and is recommended rather than using a tint. Ask your registered dispensing optician for further advice. Read more about driving and your eyes. Talk to the registered dispensing optician in your local optical practice as they are trained and educated in the latest products and technology to help you improve your driving experience.
- What are the best type of lenses for high levels of short-sightedness?
If you are very short-sighted, your spectacle lenses can feel thick and heavy and make your eyes appear smaller. High index materials have been developed which allow your lenses to be thinner and lighter. Ask the dispensing optician to talk to you about better lens materials and designs.
- What are the best sort of lenses for high levels of long-sightedness?
If you are very long-sighted, your spectacle lenses can feel thick and heavy and magnify your eyes. Aspheric lens designs can thin and flatten the lens, reducing the magnifying effect. High index materials have been developed which allow your lenses to be thinner and lighter. Ask the dispensing optician to talk to you about better lens materials and designs.
- I work on a computer and my eyes get tired. What can you advise?
Did you know there are spectacle lenses designed specifically for computer work? Book an appointment for an eye test to check your vision and eye health. If you need glasses, the dispensing optician can talk to you about these newer lenses that are specially designed for working at a desk, and make it easier to switch between a computer and paperwork. They can complement your existing spectacles and lenses. Office-style lenses often come with coatings that will enhance contrast and cut reflections. Ask your registered dispensing optician for advice on lenses for the office.
- What is a lenticular lens and who might it help?
Some people with very high spectacle prescriptions benefit from lenticular lenses. The part of the lens that helps you to see better is in the centre, within a wider border of clear lens, giving a shape like a fried egg. This cuts the central thickness of the lens and ensures the specs are lighter.
- What is a slab-off bifocal and who might it help?
A slab-off lens can help if you have a difference between your two eyes, and also need different powers of spectacle lens for distance and near vision. This can lead to an imbalance between the two eyes when you try to read. The slab-off technique can be applied to bifocal and varifocal lenses. By altering the angle at which one lens is ground you can avoid the lenses inducing double vision.
- What is a Franklin split lens and who might it help?
Franklin split lenses are special bifocals which provide a very wide zone for near vision. They are produced by cementing together two lens halves, one the distance portion and one the near portion. They can help people who have a difference between their two eyes to avoid vertical jump or imbalance.
- What are freeform lenses?
Freeform lenses use computer-aided design and surfacing to create high-level, customised spectacle lenses with your unique prescription. They can help to reduce glare and halo effects caused by light sources at night, such as car headlights.
- How are freeform lenses made?
To create freeform lenses, once you have chosen a frame, the registered dispensing optician will fit the frame to your face. They will then scan your eyes using specialised equipment that measures your face and eye position. They will also measure how the frame sits in front of your eyes, how it wraps around your face, and even how you tilt your head. The software combines your physical data with your spectacle prescription in order to provide the best vision, day and night. The optician will send your order direct to an optical lab. Your lenses will be created on a computer-driven, free-form generator. This machine is able to work to extremely high levels of accuracy and can generate more complex surface shapes than traditional glazing equipment. The lenses are then fitted to your frame. Finally, the registered dispensing optician will readjust the frame for the best fit on your face.
- Why should I choose freeform lenses?
Freeform lenses use an advanced manufacturing technique which reduces aberrations in spectacle lenses. You may not notice spectacle lens aberrations, or if you have a high prescription and high index lenses you may have noticed a coloured tint to the periphery of what you can see when you are looking away from the centre of your lens. Advances in lens manufacturing mean that lenses can be made without these aberrations. If you want sharper vision, or suffer from glare and problems with night vision, talk to a registered dispensing optician about freeform lenses.
- Who will benefit from freeform lenses?
Anyone can benefit from freeform lenses, but you will find most benefit if you have a high prescription, if you are bothered by glare or your vision seems indistinct. Make sure that you have had a recent eye examination, then talk to a registered dispensing optician about freeform lenses.
- What lenses are best for children’s specs?
Children should always have plastic lenses in their glasses. You can ask for polycarbonate or Trivex lenses which are lighter, thinner and tougher than regular plastic lenses. They also offer 100 percent protection from harmful UV light. An antireflection coating on the lenses can give your child clearer vision. You can get prescription sunglasses for children, or you can opt for photochromic lenses which darken on exposure to sunlight so your child doesn’t need to think about swapping from one pair of specs to another.