The Ultimate Guide to Anti Glare Lenses

Anti Glare coatings, AKA Anti reflection coatings or “Thin film coatings” were first discovered in 1892. Dennis Taylor, an English scientist, found that an older lens that had been oxidized would transmit more light than a newer lens.

Taylor accidentally discovered this improved light transmittance through the lens. By 1904, Taylor patented a method for artificially aging lenses by using a method of chemical treatment.

Forty-three years later modern AR coatings were developed in Germany. The first introduction for ophthalmic purposes didn’t come until 1957 for the glass market and 1974 for plastic ophthalmic lenses.

An anti-reflective layer is especially recommended for

  • Driving cars at night
  • TV watching
  • Working at computer
  • Safety eyewear
  • Cosmetics
  • Sports eyewear

AR improves a Patient’s appearance by making their lenses appear to
be virtually invisible by reducing the glare on the surface of the lenses.
And the Patient’s vision is improved due to the transmission of more light.

The most obvious and demonstrable advantage in the use of an AR coating is its visual and cosmetic improvement qualities. AR coating reduces reflections off the front and back surfaces of the lens that allow many people to actually see better, especially at night.

An AR coating is a very thin film. Because it is less than one wave length of light in thickness it is measured in angstroms, which is one-tenth of a billionth of a meter. A simple analogy may work better in understanding a “thin film” coating. Imagine a plaster wall 150 feet thick with a covering of wallpaper. That proportion of wallpaper would equal the thin film of AR coating on the front of a lens 2 mm thick

The excellent news is that the anti-reflective layers can be put on any type of lenses. So, you can use them on distance, near vision lenses, sunglasses, progressives,bifocals, trifocals, polycarbonate, hi-index, photochromic, polarized, blue light coated or any type of lenses.

Let me give you some examples 

You are driving and slowly darkens. In front of you are approaching other cars with headlights on, that stick in your face.

If you wear lenses without antiglare coating, these lights will create a small reflection on your lens that will irritate and tire your eyes. If you have the coating, much of these reflections will be canceled so eye fatigue will happen much later.

Helpful Tips

  • The combination between anti-reflective and computer lenses, increase the lenses efficiency a few times more
  • Some lenses like individual progressive lenses or high index lenses are manufactured with antiglare coating from factory
  • If you have reading glasses, the anti-reflective coating is not necessary (maybe if using tablets a lot), instead ensure that you read in decent light conditions

Which is the best anti-reflective coating

The color of light reflection on the lens gives you clues about the quality

This specific feature of anti-reflective layer can be seen directly on the lens surface as a faded shade of color. It is visible only in some inclinations of the lens, without giving it a permanent color. Contrary lenses with antiglare layer are more transparent and colorless.

Knowing the lens characteristics with different color of light reflection on coating is helpful when choosing your antiglare coating with the optician.

You can see one of these reflected colors:

  • Blue
  • Green

The blue coating has about 6 layers placed one above another on the lens. It provides a moderate level of protection and the lowest price for you.

It is recommended for street, home, driving (short periods), computer and television.

The green coating offers superior protection and color is made by the 9 layers of treatment applied to the lens. This means clear images without glare, so a longer period without eye strain.

It is prescribed for those who drive more at night, those who use a lot the computers (best in combination with PC treatment), but also for any glasses from which we claim to protect our eyes and give us a clear vision and have a beautiful and distinct look.

Durability of antiglare coating

The coatings to last more, best you choose a well known company that guarantee a high quality. In normal conditions, you should not have any problems with these layers for years if the lenses are quality lenses.

You need to know that the anti-reflective coating is part of the lenses guarantee so the lenses will be changed if you have problems with the coatings.

Causes that may damage the antiglare coating:

  • Extreme temperatures (fire, ice)
  • Bad cleaning solutions
  • Inappropriate lens cleaning

How to clean these lenses

Having different layers on your lenses one above the other, you want to be more careful what cleaners you manage to avoid damaging these coatings.

I suggest for regular cleaning a dry and clean microfiber.

Cleaning solutions are recommended only in situations where dry microfiber can not remove dirt. In this case, you can use specific solutions for anti-reflective coating (read the inscription on the bottle) that you find in optical shops.

Once a week you can wash your glasses with warm water and a soft soap, but not more often than that.

Shakespeare once said, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” If reflections are inhibiting eye contact and eye visibility, much can be lost. AR coating enhances not only the appearance of the Patient but can increase the effectiveness of communication by enabling better eye contact.

Frequently asked questions about AR Coating

Should AR coating be applied to Transitions lenses?

Yes. The AR coating creates an oxygen barrier and prolongs the life of the lens. Normally, without AR coatings the photochromics could break down as much as 22-23% after two years. With AR coating, the maximum break down is 16%. There is no loss in speed of activation and there is minimal-insignificant speed of fade with an AR coating.

Do AR coatings have any UV protection?

No. AR coatings do not contain any UV protection.

Can lenses be tinted after they have been AR coated?

No. Tinting needs to be done before the lenses are AR coated.

AR Cleaning Tips

Rinse the lenses under the tap with lukewarm water.

Place a drop of a mild hand soap or dishwashing liquid on each lens. (Dawn and Joy are ideal. Don’t use soap that contains hand cream – this will smear the lenses.)

With your fingers, rub the soap on both sides of each lens for about 5 seconds per lens, then rinse under the tap.

Use a clean, lint-free cotton towel or a special microfiber cloth available from your optical dispensary to gently wipe each lens dry. Wash your microfiber cloths once a week, without a fabric softener to avoid an accumulation of body oils.

Do not “polish” your lenses – just remove the water. Avoid using most tissues or paper towels. Paper products are made from wood and many contain small particles that can scratch your lenses. Use care in using any cloths also, because the weave may be rough enough to scratch the lenses.

Clean your lenses at least once daily.

Any attempt to clean coated lenses without first removing any tiny, abrasive material by rinsing or at least blowing off any surface particles may result in unwanted scratches. Remember, today’s surface coatings are extra thin, therefore they require extra care.

When there’s no water

If you need to clean your AR lenses when you do not have access to running water, you will need to take certain precautions to ensure that you do not scratch the lenses:

Use a spray cleaner that is specially formulated for AR lenses, thoroughly wetting each side of the lens and wiping them dry with a microfiber cloth.

Never attempt to clean your AR lenses dry if there is visible dirt on them. Rubbing the lenses when they are dirty may scratch them.

If the lenses are not dirty, only smudged, as with a fingerprint for example, use the special AR microfiber cleaning cloth to gently remove the oils.

Common Sense

Use common sense to care for your glasses when you’re not wearing them to protect your lenses:


Keep your glasses in their case when they’re not on your face.

If you remove your glasses from time to time during the day, place them in their case. If you can’t keep your case handy, be sure that you do not rest the glasses face-down on the lenses. Also, keep the temples unfolded (just as they are when you remove them from your face) so that the temples do not meet the lenses and scratch them at the contact points.

Rest the glasses upside down on a flat surface. This will reduce their chances of tipping over onto the lenses and scratching. —


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