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High Index Lenses Vs Polycarbonate

High Index Lenses Vs Polycarbonate

Reviewed by: Dr. Matthew Miller, OD on May 19th, 2022

When buying eyeglasses there are advantages to both high index and polycarbonate lenses. Before making a decision like this, it’s important to understand all the pros and cons of high index lenses Vs polycarbonate.

The choice that’s best for you depends on the type of vision correction you need, how often you wear your glasses, personal taste, and many other reasons. We should also think about other lens materials that are available. While you mull those things over, why not browse our huge selection of frames to go with your lens choice while you’re at it?

What Are High Index Lenses?

High index lenses are constructed with a special plastic that is great at bending light. Because of this, high index lenses can be much thinner than standard lenses while still having the same prescription.

Thin lens glasses are very appealing to a lot of wearers because they generally appear more natural in thinner eyeglasses frames – the sides of the lenses are less visible. Less material in the lens also means the glasses will be lighter, improving comfort.

What Are Polycarbonate Lenses?

Polycarbonate lenses are made from a type of plastic that is famous for its durability. Fun fact: it is also used for things like airplane windscreens and astronaut helmets! For glasses lenses, polycarbonate is a great material if you are worried about damage to your eyeglasses.

This material is useful if you live an active lifestyle. Do you often do sports while wearing your glasses? Polycarbonate lenses are perfect for you. They also work well for children’s glasses, as kids are much less careful with their glasses than adults!

Woman with long brown hair and transparent glasses

Aura, in Champagne

What Other Lens Options Are There?

At Eyebuydirect, we offer tons of options for your lenses. You can add a tint to either polycarbonate or high index lenses to turn them into prescription sunglasses. You can also choose light adjusting transitions lenses, letting you have the benefit of sunglasses AND eyeglasses in a single frame!

Another great feature to consider is digital screen protection lenses. These filter out harmful blue light from digital screens which can cause eye strain. Most of us use digital screens a lot, making this a great choice to protect our eye health.

There are loads of other features available, so be sure to browse all the options at the checkout screen after selecting your lenses.

What Index Are High Index Lenses?

We offer a few different indexes on our lenses. Our polycarbonate lenses have a 1.59 index which, while quite thin, is more focused on durability than lightness.

Our 1.6, 1.67, and 1.74 index lenses can all be considered high index. These lenses are  super-thin but are also more expensive than the polycarbonate option.

Check out the chart below for the pros and cons of high index lenses Vs polycarbonate:


                                                                   High Index Lenses 

                                   Pros                                                                        Cons

  • Lightweight and comfortable.
  • Fits neatly in thin frames.
  • Great for strong prescriptions.
  • Avoids the ‘bug eye’ look that can occur with farsighted prescriptions.
  • More expensive than standard lenses.
  • Can be more breakable than standard lenses.
  • Low ‘abbe value’, which can cause distortions when looking at lights.


                                                              Polycarbonate Lenses

                                  Pros                                                                          Cons

  •  Extra durable and unlikely to break.
  • Natural UV protection.
  • Cheaper than high index lenses.
  • High “abbe value” meaning less light scattering.
  •  Thicker than high index lenses.
  • Heavier and less comfortable than high index lenses.
  • Can scratch easier than some other materials.


High Index Lenses Vs Polycarbonate

Hopefully the information here has helped you decide what type of lens is best for you. Whether you decide to choose minimalist high index or tough polycarbonate lenses, all of the lenses we offer at Eyebuydirect come with anti-scratch, anti-reflective, and UV protective coatings. So, whichever of our amazing frames you decide on, you know you’re getting a great deal!


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