Glass v. Polycarbonate

Smack Down

Here at Fuse, you can probably guess what material we prefer for our shades. However, we do know it is all up to your preference. So, here is all the information on glass and polycarbonate that you’ve been craving:

Glass

Glass has been around for SO long. Not that I’m saying old things are bad (Hi, Grandma). But, it’s been almost 1,000 years. 

While it certainly has staying power, the amount of eyewear you see fitted with glass has diminished in recent years.

 

Pros:

  • Scratch resistant: Glass is inherently hard to scratch. While you can definitely still scratch it if you tried (so don’t try to prove me wrong), it does not require an additional coating to protect from minor scratches like other materials.

    Glass Ray Bans

    Glass lenses shatter.

  • Optically clear: Glass is very optically clear. This is why you will find it in camera lenses, microscopes, binoculars, etc.
  • Bifocal Approved: For prescription, glass lenses are recommended for bifocal or trifocal lenses due to its ability to be molded together without a noticeable edge.

Cons:

  • Heavy: Glass is thicker and nearly twice the weight of polycarbonate – this means it can get uncomfortable if worn for a long period of time.
  • Shatters: While scratch resistant, glass has very little impact resistance. This means glass cracks and shatters like nobody’s business. This can leave your eye vulnerable to dangerous shards of glass flying around from just inches away.
  • No UV protection: Glass requires a special coating in order to block any UV rays.
  • Limited Colors: Glass is more limited in the ways and colors it can be tinted.

 

Polycarbonate

Definitely newer to the game, polycarbonate was developed in the 1950s.

Since then, the applications of polycarbonate have become widespread and it is a staple in the eyewear industry.

Pros:

Bulletproof

Polycarbonate can take a bullet.

  • Shatterproof: Polycarbonate will not shatter and is around 10 times more impact resistant than other lens materials. This makes it ideal for safety goggles and children’s eyewear.
  • Lightweight: Polycarbonate is thinner and thus lighter and more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
  • UV protection: Polycarbonate inherently blocks 100 percent of UV rays, without requiring additional coatings.
  • Flexible: Due to its lightweight and shatterproof properties, polycarbonate is an ideal material for replacement lenses! They are safer and easier to remove, and can fit in a variety of frames without weighing them down.
  • Variety: Polycarbonate is easier to treat with virtually all tints. This allows them to be available in a wider variety of colors than glass lenses.

Cons:

  • Scratches: While it is shatterproof, polycarbonate does require a scratch-resistant coating for durability.

    Shatterproof

    Nailed it – with Polycarbonate

  • Distortion: Those with sensitive eyes may experience distortion while wearing polycarbonate. This is especially true around your peripheral vision in prescription lenses.
  • Reflective: Can produce more lens reflections especially in lighter-colored and clear lenses – which is why an AR coating is awesome on polycarbonate.

 

Each material has its advantages and there are even more options than just these two! Depending on what you do and how you feel in your lenses, you may have developed a preference. Some people swear by glass lenses, and that is A-OK. Of course, keep in mind that we highly suggest impact resistant polycarbonate if you plan on playing dodgeball (or any other activities where things – tree branches, balls, the ground, punches – may come in contact with your face).
Which material do you prefer?

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