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