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.


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?


26 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.


    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.


      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.


    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


  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.


  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.


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


  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.


    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.


  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.


  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?


    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.


  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…


    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


      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.


  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.


    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.


  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.


  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?



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