Why anti reflective lens coating is not always necessary ?

First of all it should be well understood that by using the term glasses with anti reflective coating, we are not necessarily referring to computer glasses because any general purpose reading glasses can also be coated with such layer.

girl with anti reflective coating eyeglasses


It is a common perception in the optical industry that anti reflective coating or anti glare coating on the lenses improves the visual clarity. It has been portrayed as a must feature for everyone. Computer eyeglasses with such external coating may be up to more 50% expensive than non-coated lenses but how important is it to have this thin layer applied ? Will it really make a noticeable difference to incorporate anti reflective lenses in the frames? Is it really necessary or just a marketing gimmick ? These are the key questions that we will try to answer in this easy article.

So what is Anti reflective coating ?

Clear lenses with anti reflective coating
Clear lenses with anti reflective coating

It is a thin chemical layer applied on the surface of the lenses to let the maximum light pass through them. Another function of anti reflective coating is that since less light is reflected back after hitting the lens surface therefore less reflection appears on the glasses. It is also said to improve the clarity and appearance of the lenses. You will notice a colored shade (blue, green, yellow etc) on the surface of these lenses when you tilt them.

Yes it is true that anti reflective coating is not always necessary for every person

Generally saying, stronger the prescription thicker the lenses. Years ago when someone had more than -5.0 prescription, the width of his ophthalmic glass lenses used to be as thick as a bottle glass. With technological advancement, engineers managed to reduce the thickness by developing high index lenses. These high index lens are thinner and lighter than traditional lenses but a technical issue that arises with them is inferior optic quality. That’s right. High index lenses do not have high abbe value and hence sometimes wearer complains about the visual quality and chromatic aberration. Only in such a scenario, it becomes necessary to improve the vision quality and hence wearing anti reflective glasses makes sense.

If you do not wear corrective lenses (also known as Rx prescription lenses) or your eyesight is normal then it may not be required at all to spend money on anti reflective glasses. You would be alright with standard lenses with high abbe value of 58.

Another drawback of anti glare coating is that it gets peeled-off after using several months.

What is the ground reality ?

Although it can not be completely ruled-out that these glasses do have some positive effect but still most of the customers say that the way world appears from behind the clear anti glare lenses is not much or no different than without it. If you often go for photo-shoot and face camera flashlights then these glasses may be somewhat beneficial to some extent.

Conclusion: The juice of this article

✓ It is very commonly observed in Indian market that some opticians and sellers do push buyers to purchase anti glare glasses as sometimes they can be up to 50% more expensive than regular glasses depending on the quality.

✓ Anti reflective glasses are much required when your spherical power is around -5.0 and you want to improve the visual clarity.

✓ It makes less to no sense wearing anti reflective glasses that already have a high abbe value

✓ Although zero power anti reflective glasses are also available in the market but you would hardly be able to find any difference in comparison to normal eyeglasses just by wearing them.

✓ The appearance of these lenses is better as they eliminate any external glare. For ex:- glare of vehicle headlight, camera flash light glare etc.

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