Dagny Zenovia: Why My Glasses Have A Purple Glare

Why My Glasses Have A Purple Glare

I was practically born with glasses on. Thus, lens technology is my kind of party. The red frames I am wearing now were a gift from my brother and father, who also have a healthy sense of style. Friends noted my glasses had a purple reflection, which I did not notice. It was only after editing my LookBook images that I saw what they were talking about. Out of all the glasses I have worn over the years, this is the first time my lenses have looked like this. Since I did not order purple-rain-lenses, I slightly panicked thinking the lab might have done something wrong. So, of course, I did some research and felt the need to share my discovery with the world.

funny-gif-burger-bob-dinner-glasses

My lenses have an anti-reflective coating. Even though I have had this on my previous glasses for the past 10 years, there has been a new development recently that causes this colored glare. The purpose of anti-reflective coating is to remove reflections from the lenses to improve the quality of vision and look of the lenses. It removes the “back-glare” that is caused by light hitting the back of the lens and bouncing into the eyes. This can cause eye fatigue and blurry vision while viewing a screen or driving at night. This coating is installed as layers on both sides of the lens to cancel out the intensity of the light reflected from the inner surface and outer surface.

Now, I always understood anti-reflective coating to remove all reflection from the lenses. At least, I figured that is why it was called “anti-reflective.” All advertisements and demonstrations show clear lenses.

Anti-Reflective Coating

So, why do my glasses have a glare…a purple glare? It turns out the color of the light reflection is determined by the quality of the anti-reflective coating. A blue or purple coating has 6 layers and a green coating has 9 layers. The heavier coating is prescribed for those who drive more at night and use the computer a lot. These colors are known as a “residual glare.”

My frames also have aspheric lenses. This is also a recent development in lens technology where the concave of the lens is reduced to minimize the magnified appearance of the eyes. My prescription is pretty strong and not the same for both eyes. For a long time my eyes have looked very big with one noticeably bigger than the other. These lenses do not completely cancel the magnification, but I do notice a change in size. Note aspheric lenses do not alter the quality of vision, but rather are a cosmetic adjustment.

Now, are these new developments worth it? To some, the purple residual glare looks cool. I do not see purple while wearing the glasses, so the glare does not distract me. However, looking back at the demo images, I was expecting my lenses to look clear. It might be that the combination of the aspheric lenses and the anti-reflective coating causes a bigger glare. Compared to my previous glasses, these seem to pick up more reflections. This is why I feel that stores and labs that specialize in lenses should make an extra effort to explain their products. There are so many options now to add to your lenses that the lack of a comprehensive menu of choices can lead to pleasant surprises or disappointments.

Velma Glasses

Do you have experience with different glasses? What is your opinion on the new anti-reflective coating?

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52 thoughts on “Why My Glasses Have A Purple Glare

  1. Wow! What an informative article. I really never took the time to figure all the technology that goes into a pair oh glasses. I am also one of your fans who thought the purple glasses looked cool. With that been said. Do you notice a difference on your eye sight with the purple reflection? I have very bad night vision. I have tried to do very little driving at night. You have given me a good question to ask my ophthalmologist the next time I see him. Thanks.

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    1. I don’t think the purple glare has altered my vision. However, depending on where the light is, I can see a purple reflection of my eye in the lens. Glad to hear you found the post helpful. Thank you so much for commenting.

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      1. Hi i also faced the similar experience .I was using green coating all this while but my optician seems to have duped me .As i dont like my look with purple.

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      2. I just got my new glasses and I am very unhappy with the purple tint. I was told the only solution was to get progressive lenses or remove the coating. It appears I could ask for more coatings to get a green tint. Do you have a picture of them for me to see by any chance?

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      3. From what I understand, the green tint will look the same as the purple tint, in terms of location and glare, but instead it will be green. I hope that helps. Thank you for sharing Rosemary.

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    2. Wow loved this article! I just received my glasses and they have that weird purple glare. I like you have worn glasses for my entire life! So I’m very familiar with anti-reflective coatings. Retailers should explain this to the customer as we are spending up to $1000+, especially for those with higher prescriptions!!!! Thanks for this article I was like wait am I crazy??? LOL

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  2. Came across your post when searching for purple glared glasses! I got some today, also my first time I noticed it. Do your glasses by chance have tiny letters described in them? On each glass I can see O P H and with the H there’s 3 little dashes pointing out. You don’t notice them when you put them on, I was just wondering.

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  3. Thank you. I’ve always associated purple glare for cheaper quality non-glare coating. Is this true? I was disappointed at the purple and complained, figuring they used a sub-par quality product.

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  4. WOOOW! Thanks for the very great knowledge. I also got new lenses with purple reflation and now I know why my lenses reflects.

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  5. Just an addition(or correction) about the purple reflection. In the last few years there were confirmed studies suggesting that the exposure of blue-violet light for long periods of time would cause faster eye fatigue faster and over many years would lead to higher risk of Age-Related Macular degeneration(AMD). Due to ever increasing development of screens and LED’s that have intense white or blue light, the risk of AMD could almost triple in the next few decades. Keep in mind, AMD is the leading cause of eye-problems for older individuals. Therefore, to counteract blue-violet light (the spectrum right above true ultra-violet), there are special dyes that partially block and reflect the harmful highest-energy blue and violet lights. Theoretically it should make things look a slight bit yellower but it’s almost impossible to notice any differences, and it should future-proof your eyes from degeneration.

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    1. Thanks for the info. Being proactive about eye protection is great, but there is still room for improvement as this develops. The tint for now is noticeable to the glasses-wearer. I’m sure they will fix it eventually.

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  6. I just got new lenses and have complained once and going back. This new coating reflects purple glare, especially in bright light situations. Like you have had this coating for 25 years and never a problem till now.

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  7. Thank you so much. Please I just got mine and it was purple reflective lens, but the way you explained it, green has 9 layers whlie purple or blue has 6 layers to me i prefare the best and i think green is the best. Another thing is this can i see the reflection of the colour when i wear it or only people that looked at me can see it?

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    1. Hello Jude. From what I understand, the distinction between green and purple is not better quality, but rather, what your eyes need. Green is usually prescribed for those who drive at night for long periods of time, as an example. Depending on the angle of the glare, I sometimes can see a small purple dot while wearing my glasses, but it does not block my vision. Hope that helps.

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  8. I just reordered my lenses; they are replacing at no cost. I was talked into the drive safe lenses, though I rarely drive at night and when I do I’m wearing contacts. Anyhow, I’m sorry I have no interest in people seeing a blue glare when they look at me. I want them to see my eyes. I guess that makes me vain…

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    1. Hello all. I also facing the same problem with this purple glare, come from the lenses coating. The problem become worst when i used my front camera phone for selfie. luckily, they offer me to replace with the new one: either with green coating or photochromic lenses (that one which will turn dark during hot day). Plz give ur opinion, which one is better? Thank you in advance

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      1. Anti reflective coating and transitions (the photocromic lenses you mentioned) serve two different purposes. Anti reflective coating protects your eyes from the light waves you can’t see (such as looking at computer and phone screens). Transitions protect your eyes from the sun. With the way our lifestyles are evolving, we kind of need both. Note, I’m not an eye doctor, so you should get a professional second opinion.

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  9. God bless you ma, I have antireflection purple glare glass, but at night when driving light always enter my eyes. I have complained to my doctor but he told me what he gave me was the best. But now I have found out from you that there is a green glare which have 9 layer for night driving etc please what shall I do? Can you help me I want the best.

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    1. If the light from driving at night really bothers you, re-ordering your lenses with a higher anti reflective coating might help. Note, I’m not an eye doctor, so you should get a professional second opinion.

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  10. thank you so much. I just got mine and had no idea why they were purple. I have to say I don’t like it at all. I am going to see if I can get them remade ASAP. I appreciate that you took the time to share.

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  11. I have two questions.

    1. Did the purple glare disappeared over time ?
    2. Were the people changing lens for the green coating have the same glare issue?

    Best,

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  12. Thank you for the post, however for the brand of lenses i use (Zeiss), green tint is the cheaper and blue/purple is the more expensive one.

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  13. Thanks for this valuable information, a few weeks ago I got my new glasses and my optometrist advised me the purple Anti-reflective Coating that was the latest in technology, especially for me that I spend more than 8 hours in front of the computer, but for last 3 weeks I have noticed that the reflection of the white screen annoys my eyes very much , my eyes burns a lot and my vision gets blurry, I can’t stand in front of the computer for more than 30 minutes, I had to adjust the colors of the PC but did not help, I thought I had some problem with my vision I was really worried I even made an appointment with my ophthalmologist, but I have to wait 4 weeks, thanks to your article I realize that the fatigue of my eyes is due to the Anti-Glare purple color, I’m wearing my old glasses now and the problem disappeared after 15 min. thank you very much! Now that I have all the facts I’ll call my optometrist. God Bless You!

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  14. Thanks for sharing this information. Earlier this year I spent an awful lot of money (for me at least) on new frames and high index progressive lenses with anti-reflective coating, all of which were convincingly sold to me from an optical store. Thanks to your article I now know why I notice an annoying green shade when looking in the mirror at certain angles. My optician tried to assured me this is ok and would not affect my vision. I told her that is not really the point because eyeglass wearers want to look to their best to minimize the fact we have to wear eyeglasses in the first place. And she specifically appealed to that need by selling me “deeply discounted”, handmade, designer frames that “look great on my face”. Then because of my prescription and age, I was also told I really should go with progressive lenses over bi-focals because they would look better, so that decision added about $200. Then I was told I really should get the best high-index lenses available (manufactured by Seiko) which of course have the anti-reflective coating, making the total outlay around $800. So now after having spent all that money to improve my image I now can only think that all anyone sees when looking at me is a green reflection. But I do have stylish frames and the of course the very best high-index lenses available!

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  15. I just picked up my new glasses day before yesterday and noticed the purple glare in my mirror. I asked my son today if he could see it and he could. Then my next door neighbor said to me…there’s a purple reflection on your glasses! I don’t like it at all. When I am talking to some one, I want my eyes to show with no color on the lenses. I called the eye doctor’s office and she said that they have a 1 time exchange on these “digital” lenses. She can change me to the “other” reflective coating that has a green reflection! I want no color at all. Is that something that isn’t possible anymore? Sheesh! Not happy with this at all. It certainly should have been mentioned before I ordered them.

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    1. Thanks for sharing Tracie. I think the only way, for now, to have no color at all is to not have any anti-reflective coating. This may or may not make a difference depending on your eyes. I hope you were able to get your lenses fixed.

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    2. Hi Tracie, Most anti-reflection coated lenses will have a coloured shine but 9 times out of 10 that is better than uncoated lenses as without the coating people will struggle to see your eyes as they will act more like a mirror. At least when they are coated your eyes are more visible the lenses look clearer the coloured shine you’ll experience is preventing you seeing your own eyeball in bright conditions to so in my professional opinion I would stick with the AR

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  16. So glad I found your post! After the 10th stranger asked me if my glasses had a purple tint I went to my opticians office. I was told rudely that this was NORMAL for this Crizal lens … protecting my eyes from blue rays … blah blah blah. I finally saw it for myself in a Selfie i took.
    I don’t like it at all!
    I’ve sent a message to the company that makes my Crizal lens. I will be interested in their response.
    It seems I’m going to have to make an appt with my Doctor directly to get past the rude office manager.
    I have progressive lens, I’m going to see if I can just get my regular, untreated, lens.
    Thank you so much for your information!

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    1. Hi Melanie, Most anti-reflection coated lenses will have a coloured shine but 9 times out of 10 that is better than uncoated lenses as without the coating people will struggle to see your eyes as they will act more like a mirror. At least when they are coated your eyes are more visible the lenses look clearer the coloured shine you’ll experience is preventing you seeing your own eyeball in bright conditions to so in my professional opinion I would stick with the AR at the bare minimum, next time the CRIZAL FORTE might be better for you than the CRIZAL PREVENCIA

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  17. I just purchased my first pair of glasses with the purple protective computer lenses. Hated them, all you & everyone else see is purple. I have brought my glasses back to have them remade without the protective lens. Thank goodness for satisfaction guarantees. Will never purchase those ugly lenses again. Since I have read that the purple lenses haven’t really been proven to protect your eyes. Hope this helps.

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  18. My doctor’s office has been brushing me off for years acting as if I’m the only one who noticed the colors. My problem isn’t that people see purple or green or whatever when they look at me (I mean, they probably do, but I don’t care). It’s that *I* see the colors on the inside of my glasses and it’s really distracting. Over the years, I’ve had purple, green, blue and yellow; one color at the top of my glasses and a different color on the bottom. Usually it’s a purple/green combo or a blue/yellow combo. It’s so irritating. The past few years I’ve been given glasses that have tiny little letters, numbers and symbols embedded in the glass and the light reflects off them. Combine that with the rainbow of colors I’m seeing and it’s a wonder I can see anything else. Luckily I wear contacts and rarely need my glasses.

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    1. Thank you for sharing Sarah. Those letters combined with the colors do sound frustrating. You are lucky you can wear contacts most of the time. I used to, but my prescription is too heavy, thus I cannot see very clearly with contacts. So I stick to glasses.

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    2. Those markings you were referring to will more than likely be the varifocal markers which are on all varifocals to prevent you noticing those colours in the future you could as for both back surfaced and traditional coatings… hope this helps

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  19. Just picked up my 13 year old son’s glasses today and yes, his lenses have a weird purple glare to them. He does not like that at all and I can’t say I blame him either. And no, there was absolutely no mention from the optician about this purple glare. Thank you for this post., which you did back in 2015. It’s now 2018, so I don’t think the optician can say that they didn’t know about this.

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  20. This is so wrong the name need to change to reflection instead of Anti-Reflective. I have no interest in people seeing a blue glare when they look at me. I want them to see my eyes in pictures not that blue glare.

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  21. Thank you for this article on the purple anti-reflective material. I just received my on line order and thought that they had forgotten my anti-glare material and after reading your article now understand that is what is the cause. You saved me from having to return them. Its annoying when taking photos but other than that I can see out of these babies really good. THANK YOU Again.

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  22. I just received my glasses yesterday and I too have the purple coating, which I don’t mind. However, what I did notice that in pictures there is a horrible glare which I am not very happy about. My previous glasses did not have this effect. I wonder if there is anything I can do about it.

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  23. Hello I would just like to say I’m a practice manager at an opticians and I would like to debunk some of these misconceptions after reading this article. It is true that there are many different types of anti-reflection coating as there are well over 400 hundred different lens manufactures all with their own versions of AR (The colours they reflect back do not always mean that a coating is poor quality) . However what you guys are referring to is not actually just an anti-reflection coating but also a blue light filter.

    Blue light is something emitted by all devices (phones, kindles, laptops, iPad, PC’s) as well as some of the newer more energy efficient lights. The negative side affects of over exposure to blue light, include fatigue, sleep deprivation, blurred vision, headaches, glare sensitivity and even neck ache to name a few.

    With 1 in 3 adults spending 9 hrs per day on a device the blue filter helps to address these symptoms. There has been such a positive overwhelming response to this product and most lens manufacturers have started producing their own versions of this filter. However as with any product the Blue Light filter does have some draw backs.

    By cutting most of the blue light emitted some people notice there is a subtle colour change where white paper will appear a creamy white and without the glasses on it will appear a blue/grey white. The other drawback will be that you increase a lenses internal refraction when you filter out a colour which is why some people notice blue spots that appear when you look at a source of direct light. Other people notice the colour of the reflection more as well.

    As long as the benefits out weight the drawbacks then the blue light filter is a good product for you. I myself wear the Crizal Prevencia which is a version of a blue light filter. At the end of the day it is the dispensing opticians job to help you select the right lenses for you and your lifestyle and I don’t doubt that if they have advised you to have this coating it will be due to the fact you were experiencing some of the many symptoms associated with CVS.

    Hope this helps clear up some things

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    1. Thanks for your reply to this post. But as per my own post on 9/9/17, what really matters is how we feel about ourselves in the glasses. Who in their right mind would actually want a purple or green (in my case) tint to be visible to anyone? In 2009, I purchased the best and most expensive high-index Crizal lenses available and never once noticed a purple or green reflection when looking at myself in the mirror and it was never noticed by anyone looking at me. So now 9 years later with my new purchase of the now-very-best lenses all I and others can see is a green tint when light is reflected off the lenses at certain angles, with my optician failing to tell me in advance – as in before the sale – that this was a possibility.

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  24. In the future there are now products like Shamir Achromatic coating which do not have a coloured shine but still cut reflections but this is a specialist product so you would have to find you closest supplier 🙂

    You may have never noticed the shine but I can assure you that any AR coated unless achromatic will have a coloured reflection. The crizal prevencia is highly noticeable though; so now your more informed of the coatings you may notice it more.

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  25. Hey, just read this article and the comments, and boy did they surely gave me some insight!
    I just have a question though. Whenever I look back at reflection from my Crizal Forte UV, it is majorly greenish,as explained above in this article. But whenever I see a reflection from ZEISS lens, its majorly blue, even from bulbs and tubelights. SO does this mean, ZEISS from same price to quality ratio, better than Crizal?
    Also for people spending heavy time on electronic gadgets, namely mobile phone and dekstops, I’d suggest them FINO BLU-CUT LENSES.
    They tend to block 100% of Harmful blue lights while that of Crizal Prevencia cuts upto 80-85%.
    Try them. THANKS!

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