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Optical Lens Materials

What Lens Materials Are Available for My Eyeglasses?

Eyeglasses are only as good as the lenses you put in them. As a company founded by doctors and staffed by opticians, we stand behind that belief. Our commitment to quality ensures we only sell premium Essilor® lenses, which are widely regarded as the best lenses in the industry.

One of the greatest benefits to buying your lenses from FramesDirect.com is price. We offer the highest quality lenses in the world, but at less than half the cost of a typical optical store like LensCrafters.

Choosing The Right Lens Material

There are two things you need to consider when deciding which lens material will work best for you: prescription and lifestyle. While mild prescriptions may work with any lens materials, stronger prescriptions may require a specific lens material. Additionally, children and people with active lifestyles may opt for the added protection of impact-resistant lenses.

See our comparison chart and descriptions below to learn about the features and benefits of each lens material and to determine which one is best for you.

Feature Plastic Polycarbonate Hi-Index 1.67 Hi-Index 1.74
Edge Polish Included Included Included Included
Scratch-Resistant Included Included Included Included
UV-Protection Add-On Included Included Included
Anti-Reflective Add-On Add-On Add-On Included
Impact-Resistant n/a Included n/a n/a
Prescription Range Up to +/- 1.75 Up to +/- 4.00 Up to +/- 9.00 Extra-Strong Prescriptions
Thickness Basic 30% Thinner than Basic 45% Thinner than Basic 50% Thinner than Basic


Plastic lenses are recommended for light prescriptions, ranging from no correction to +/-1.75. These lenses are the ideal choice for mild-to-medium single-vision prescriptions because they are so much lighter and less breakable than glass lenses but more budget-friendly than polycarbonate or hi-index lenses.

Our standard plastic lenses include polished edges and a scratch-resistant coating at no additional cost.


Polycarbonate lenses are 30% thinner and lighter than plastic and recommended for people with prescriptions ranging from +/- 2.00 to +/-4.00. Polycarbonate is also recommended for children under 18 years of age and anyone who has an active lifestyle, due to its impact-resistance. Rimless and semi-rimless frames also work best with polycarbonate lenses.

High-impact resistant polycarbonate lenses are ideal for:

  • Children
  • Athletes
  • People with mild to moderate prescriptions
  • Rimless and semi-rimless frames

Our polycarbonate lenses include polished edges as well as scratch-resistant and UV-protection coatings at no additional cost.

California Prop 65 Warning ยป

Hi-Index 1.67

Hi-index 1.67 lenses are 45% thinner than plastic lenses and help reduce the distortion of your eyes that people see when they look at you through your glasses. This lens material is recommended for people with prescriptions up to +/- 9.00.

Some benefits of hi-index 1.67 lenses include:

  • Slim profile that allows you to choose from a wider selection of frames.
  • Lightweight for added comfort.
  • Flatter surface so your lenses will bulge less from the frame and your eyes will appear more natural in size.

Our hi-index 1.67 lenses include polished edges as well as scratch-resistant and UV-protection coatings at no additional cost.

Hi-Index 1.74

High-index 1.74 lenses are the thinnest, flattest, lightest, and most cosmetically appealing lenses ever developed. They prevent the "Coke-bottle" look for people with high prescriptions, but work well for any prescription.

Features of hi-index 1.74 lenses include:

  • Slimmest profile
  • Flattest surface
  • 100% visual clarity

Our hi-index 1.74 lenses include polished edges as well as scratch-resistant, UV-protection, and anti-reflection coatings at no additional cost.

Shop All Eyeglassses »

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