What Is Polycarbonate Lens: Are They for You?

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What is polycarbonate lens? We tend to see this term all the time when we buy eyeglasses. For us, this term is very normal to see as it has always been there, but do we know what it means? Does it add strength to the lenses? Does it offer protection?

When you come to think of it, almost all eyeglasses come in polycarbonate lens by default. So, it is really interesting how come this material has become the norm for making eyeglasses.

Are you curious to find out what it is? Do not worry as we have got you covered! Today, we are going to talk all about polycarbonate lens. Aside from that, we are also going to discuss how it affects our eyeglasses. Lastly, we will determine if having polycarbonate lenses for your eyeglasses is the best choice for you.

Before we do all that, though, let us first take a look at the brief history of polycarbonate.

History of Polycarbonate

For us to appreciate what polycarbonate does and really find out what is polycarbonate lens, we should first take a look at its early uses. Back in the day, polycarbonate was used for cockpits in fighter planes. More specifically, it was used for the canopies.

This is the case because polycarbonate is impact-resistant. At the same time, when polycarbonate is used, the planes have a much clearer window as well. This is really useful back then because the pilots were able to see clearly without anything that can hinder their field of vision.

During the 1970s, it was used in NASA for the helmet visors of astronauts and the windshields of space shuttles. It was only during the 1980s that polycarbonate was declared as safe to be put on eyeglasses. You might think, “why did they think of putting polycarbonate in glasses?”

The answer is simple: it is a good alternative to plastic.

What Is Polycarbonate Lens Made Of?

Polycarbonate starts off as small pellets that are solid. These pellets are somehow similar to plastic if only you can roll the plastic and harden them. Then, it goes through a manufacturing process called injection molding. What happens during this process is that the pellets are heated and, therefore, completely melted.

The melted result is what is used to form the lens. The last and final step is that they are molded, compressed, and finally, cooled. After that, the byproduct, now in the form of lenses, are ready for your glasses.

Benefits of Polycarbonate Lenses

There are a lot of benefits in using polycarbonate lenses in your eyeglasses, but here are a few of the major advantages:

  • Tough lens
  • Thin lens
  • Lightweight lens
  • UV protection
  • Blue light protection

Tough Lens

Let us first start with the most obvious advantage, and that is having a durable lens. Just like what we have mentioned before, polycarbonate can be mistaken for plastic. In its original form, plastic can be easily torn, but when compressed, it becomes extremely strong.

Think of your plastic containers, and imagine those in lens form. You are left with a lens that is as sturdy as compressed plastic, but it can somehow be flexible at the same time. Definitely, it is harder to break, because the lenses move with your eyeglasses.

Thin Lens

For those of you who have a high prescription for lenses, you will extremely love polycarbonate lenses. This is the case because even though you have a high prescription, once the lenses are processed, they are almost always thinner than regular lenses.

Again, the reason behind this is its plastic-like consistency. Say goodbye to bulky lenses when you go for polycarbonate ones. No one will ever suspect that you have a poor vision when you wear polycarbonate lenses because they are as thin as fake lenses.

Lightweight Lens

The fact that it is lightweight also has a lot to do with the material itself. This is also the reason why polycarbonate lenses pair well with rimless frames for eyeglasses. They are so lightweight that even without ample support, they will not break or shift away from their original positions.

UV Protection

Remember what we said about polycarbonate being used in fighter airplanes? From this, we can say that it also works the same when it is used as polycarbonate lenses. By default, they can only protect against UVA, but there are releases now that can also protect against UVB.

In a nutshell, polycarbonate lenses not only protect against glares that might irritate your vision but against the harmful rays of the sun.

Blue Light Protection

Not all polycarbonate lenses have high blue light protection, but, by default, they can also offer a bit of protection. However, if this is really a concern for you, you can ask the maker to add a blue light protective coating to your polycarbonate lenses.

Blue light is also known as high energy visible light. It comes from monitors, smartphones, tablets, and other similar gadgets. It is harmful since it damages the retina with constant and massive exposure. More often than not, this is the cause of insomnia to some people.

When you have blue light protection in your polycarbonate lenses, you will see that when exposed to blue light, your lenses will automatically darken.

Are Polycarbonate Lenses for You?

Polycarbonate lenses are for people who are clumsy. As funny as that may seem, this type of lens can really be advantageous because it does not break easily. However, it does get scratched quite easily, so you have to request an anti-scratch coating on them.

Furthermore, it is also best for people who are into outdoor activities. Having lightweight but durable eyewear can make you concentrate more on your current activity—may that be cycling, hiking, waterboarding, and the likes. The same goes for people who work in environments that are hazardous.

Lastly, it is best for kids. Naturally, kids do not pay attention to their glasses, and in the process, they break them easily. You will save a lot on repairs and replacements when you go for polycarbonate lenses for your kid’s eyeglasses.


With the knowledge we have shared with you here, we are confident that you can easily decide if you want to get polycarbonate lenses or forego them for regular lenses. As much as we have stressed that these lenses can really be tough, do keep in mind that it can still break like glass.

However, take into consideration the style of glasses that you like because some frames simply do not work well with polycarbonate lenses. But then again, if you like rimless glasses, then polycarbonate lenses are the best choice.

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