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Polycarbonate or Trivex Lenses - Which One is Right For Me?

When it comes to eye safety, polycarbonate and Trivex lenses should be the first options you consider. Not only are they thinner and lighter than other lens materials, but they are 10 times more impact-resistant than ordinary plastic or glass lenses. They also provide 100% protection from UV rays.


These characteristics are especially key when you are considering purchasing sports or children’s eyewear but relevant for all glasses lenses. Both polycarbonate and Trivex lenses are safe and convenient choices for each, but they differ in some areas, offering a slightly varied optical experience. Read on for more information about which lens type is right for you.


Polycarbonate Lenses vs Trivex Lenses


What are polycarbonate lenses?

Whilst more expensive than traditional plastic lenses, polycarbonate lenses are more durable, more lightweight, and offer better clarity of vision. They also offer guaranteed UV protection. In comparison to Trivex lenses, they are also more cost effective.

Polycarbonate lenses were first introduced in the 1970’s for use in aerospace programs and activities. The material was used for astronaut helmet visors, as well as space shuttle windshields; proving beyond a doubt the material’s durability.

Ever since their introduction to the commercial eyewear market in the 1980’s, polycarbonate lenses have become the standard for all children’s and sports eyewear, as well as commercial safety glasses. Because of their durability to withstand fractures, polycarbonate lenses are also most commonly used for both semi-rimless and rimless eyeglass frames. Polycarbonate lenses are commonly used for polarized lenses, photochromic lenses (also known as transition lenses) and sunglass lenses.


Trivex Lenses


What are Trivex Lenses?


As with polycarbonate, Trivex material was actually developed for alternate uses to eyewear. Originally used by the military for fighter jet windshields and other military applications, Trivex is famously one of the most durable materials on the market. As Trivex lenses are made from a very similar material to polycarbonate lenses, they perform in much the same way in terms of their weight, durability index and UV protection.


The key difference that sets the two materials apart however, insofar as providing an optimum eyewear experience, is that Trivex lenses have a higher Abbe value. This is because they are made up of a urethane-based monomer, which refracts less light. Materials with a higher Abbe value provide clearer and crisper visual clarity.


What this means in real terms is; when lenses are made of materials with a lower Abbe value there can be certain aberrations depending on conditions. Ie. The wearer may notice fuzzy or rainbow haloes around lights. Because of its high Abbe value therefore, Trivex lenses can offer a better optical experience than polycarbonate lenses. This is especially the case for those with higher prescriptions, as the severity of the aberrations tend to increase with stronger prescriptions.

Choosing the right frames for your lenses


It is recommended that you choose your frames and lenses for glasses based on what you need them for. The more information you have, the more informed your choice can be.


Polycarbonate Lenses Advantages and Disadvantages

Both polycarbonate and Trivex lenses are durable and lightweight, making them excellent choices for all children’s eyewear, as well as for sports and safety glasses. Lenses cannot be considered in isolation, however, as all lenses must be placed within suitable frames. Wearing regular eyeglass frames during physical sports or outdoors activities is not recommended because the frames themselves can easily break or fall from your face. In this regard, you need to decide whether polycarbonate or Trivex lenses are best suited to the frames you have, or wish to purchase.

Trivex Lenses vs polycarbonate lenses

In situations where clarity is key, you may wish to invest in Trivex lenses for their higher Abbe value, and so increased visual clarity. Additionally, if you have a stronger than average prescription you may wish to invest in Trivex to avoid annoying abnormalities in your daily vision, such as haloed lights or a distorted peripheral vision.

For more information, speak to our expert opticians.

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