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Polycarbonate Lenses vs. Glass vs. Plastic

Polycarbonate Lenses vs. Glass vs. Plastic

Glass or polycarbonate lenses? That is the question. If you’ve browsed for prescription or non-prescription glasses, you know both types of lenses offer their own advantages and disadvantages. So, which is the best option for you? Here’s a quick rundown of the top features of each material to help you decide.

 

What Are Polycarbonate Lenses?

Polycarbonate lenses are ultra-durable, ultra-lightweight eyeglass lenses. A polycarbonate lens is over 10 times more impact-resistant than your average plastic or glass lens. While it’s not the thinnest type of optical lens out there, polycarbonate still retains its position as the Swiss Army knife of eyewear lenses. And with the right scratch-resistant coating or blue-violet light filter added, its potential increases even more.

A hand holding a pair of browline-style eyeglasses with wood-texture frames

Do Polycarbonate Lenses Have UV Protection?

These lenses are more than just durable: They also provide 100% protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays! This kind of UV protection is an inherent part of the material, and it’s something that glass and regular plastic lenses don’t have. 

Fun fact: Polycarbonate was the original material used to make windshields for fighter planes. Now imagine its durability as an eyeglass lens material!

 

Are Polycarbonate Lenses Worth It?

Yes, they are indeed worth it. They’re durable and impact-resistant, lightweight and thin, and they even offer extremely effective UV protection. 

At Eyebuydirect, you can get a pair of polycarbonate lenses with your choice of frame for as low as $18! Considering their price and the many pros that come with polycarbonate lenses, they are definitely worth getting in both the short term and the long run.

 

Polycarbonate Lenses vs. Glass Lenses

Now that you have more insight on polycarbonate glasses, let’s see how they compare to frames with glass lenses.

Some of the biggest concerns for glasses wearers include clarity, durability, weight, and UV protection. Here’s what you’ll find in both lens types:

  • Clarity – A lens that’s optically clearer provides a better picture. Glass is superior in this category, which is why binoculars, telescopes, and cameras use it. But that doesn’t mean polycarbonate lenses don’t provide a clear picture — just that glass offers more optical clarity.
  • Scratch resistance – A scratch on your lens will affect its clarity and the overall appearance of your eyewear. Glass and polycarbonate can both become scratched, but polycarbonate is much easier to scratch. This makes anti-scratch or scratch-resistant coatings popular among polycarbonate glasses wearers.
  • Impact resistance – A lens with high impact resistance is less prone to cracking or shattering. While we love our frames, it’s not uncommon to drop them. Glass and polycarbonate can both handle occasional drops but they aren’t invincible. Glass is the most vulnerable in this category, with polycarbonate being 10 times stronger.
  • Weight – The weight of your lenses becomes noticeable if you need to wear your frames for long periods of time. Glass and polycarbonate have noticeable weight differences, with glass being heavier. Polycarbonate is actually considered a lightweight lens material. The weight of your glasses is most noticeable through pressure at the nose pads and temple tips.
  • UV Protection – A lens with UV protection should be a must-have for everyone — the long-term health of your eyes depends on it! While polycarbonate naturally blocks 100% of UV rays, glass needs to have an extra coating added to provide UV protection. Since both can offer UV protection, this is probably a tie.

So, who’s the winner of polycarbonate vs. glass lenses? Both!

Each lens offers advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the lens for your frames essentially relies on your personal needs and preferences. If you’re sensitive to your frame’s weight, for example, polycarbonate may be the better choice. 

Of course, if you’re unsure of which to choose, you can always contact our support team for advice.

A pair of metallic eyeglasses with round frames on a black reflective background

Plastic vs. Polycarbonate Lenses

So, what about plastic lenses? What’s the difference between a plastic lens and a polycarbonate lens, and is one better than the other?

Polycarbonate is an advanced type of plastic. It’s lighter, thinner, and more impact-resistant than a regular plastic lens. However, plastic lenses tend to provide more optical clarity than polycarbonate.

Like glass, plastic lenses also don’t have built-in UV protection — you have to order an additional UV coating if you want the sun defense.

 

Purchasing Eyeglass Lenses

At Eyebuydirect, you’ll find polycarbonate lenses built into stylish and high-quality frames at affordable prices. And reasonable prices mean it’s realistic to buy more than one pair without going over your eyewear budget.

Our 365-Day Guarantee and 14-Day Free Returns also ensure that you’re happy with your purchase by replacing, refunding, or exchanging your frames if they become damaged or if they aren’t quite your style.

Start browsing our catalog of eyewear and sunglasses to see our full selection of stylish frames.

 

Shop Glasses with Polycarbonate Lenses

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ST MICHEL
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Featured Frames
ST MICHEL
ST MICHEL $28
Evergreen
Evergreen $62
Persea
Persea $62
Lilia
Lilia $45
shop glasses