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What’s the Difference Between Glass Vs Plastic Lenses?

Having a hard time picking a lens material?

Glass Vs Plastic Lenses

Lens material can be a difficult choice when purchasing glasses online, especially if you’ve never done it before. Glass vs plastic lenses, high index vs standard, polycarbonate? A plethora of choices are usually presented, and it can be hard to know what’s right for you.

The two major differences between glass and plastic are weight and scratch resistance. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, which can be annoying for several reasons. The added weight on your nose can cause uncomfortable and unattractive pressure points as you wear the glasses all day, and it can also cause the glasses to slide down your face.

The other major difference is scratch resistance. Plastic lenses, while lighter, don’t have the scratch resistance of glass. Scratching glass lenses is a fairly difficult and unlikely thing to do unless you drop them, whereas plastic lenses are fairly easy to scratch, requiring a bit more care in handling.

If you’re trying to decide between plastic vs glass lens materials and don’t know all the differences, here’s what you need to know:

  • Plastic is much lighter than glass, making it more comfortable to wear all day and limiting the glasses’ tendency to slide down your nose.
  • Glass is much more scratch resistant than plastic, making the glasses last longer.
  • Glass lenses are also more brittle than plastic lenses. It is extremely unlikely that you will ever break or crack plastic lenses, but glass lenses are likely to crack, splinter, or shatter if dropped on a hard surface such as concrete or metal.
  • Plastic lenses are less reflective than glass lenses, making them clearer and less prone to glare.
  • Glass lenses generally have a higher index than plastic lenses, making them slightly thinner and more attractive looking.
  • Plastic lenses come in more colors and larger sizes than glass lenses, making them much more versatile. Whereas the frames you can get in glass are limited, you can get virtually any type of frame in prescription with plastic lenses.

Since the creation of the plastic lens, glass lenses are much rarer than plastic when it comes to prescription glasses. The huge reduction in weight and versatility in prescription frames has caused plastic to win out in popularity in the glass vs plastic lens material race.

If you are interested in getting prescription glasses online, hopefully this narrows your choices and gives you a good idea of the differences between glass vs plastic lenses. If you have other questions not answered here, or if you’d like to make a comment on this post, you can leave them in the comments section below. You are also more than welcome to call us if you’re shopping for prescription glasses online and have some unanswered questions. Thanks for reading, and happy shopping!

  1. John W says:

    Which plastic lens is closest to glass in optical sharpness?

  2. Scotty l says:

    I have to get shatter proof due to only eye and to protect it. Glass has shatter proof,so what do you recommend?

    • rxsafety says:

      The only two materials shatterproof is trivex or polycarbonate. Either one would work for you.

  3. Sue kline says:

    I just bought readers and I’m having a problem cleaning the lenses and keeping them clean…any suggestions? They are plastic lenses..

  4. Staci says:

    Hello I recently found out that myself and my daughter need glasses. Unfortunately we do not have vision insurance so we had to go with cheaper frames and no add ons. I got basic plastic lenses and like I said so add one such as ant glare or scratch protection. Due to myy daughters age she qualified to get polycarbonate lenses. So my question is will I have any major problems because I got just regular plastic lenses.

    • rxsafety says:

      Hi Staci,

      It’s hard to say. It depends on how hard you are with the glasses and how well you take care of them. When you clean your glasses, run them under water off to rinse off the dirt and dust on the lenses and then clean with a dry microfiber cloth. Don’t clean them on your shirt. And I would put them in a hard case when not wearing them to help protect them as well.

  5. Zaki says:

    Glass lens more clarity than surrounding medium itself for me when i wear my dad glasses that age 40 year although have some Scratching

  6. Asish palui says:

    Sir plastic Vs glass
    Who is better for eye?

    • Ryan Phillips says:

      Hello Asish,

      Glass does provide the best clarity, however, they will also be the heaviest and can cause an issue should the lenses break while on your face.


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