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PLASTIC, POLYCARBONATE, TRIVEX: CHOOSING THE RIGHT LENS
Part 2 - In this particular case, our patient had a plastic lens because she chose not to get a reflection-free surface and wanted to save some money. Reflection-free surfaces greatly enhance the clarity of the optics with polycarbonate. We don’t recommend any polycarbonate lenses that do not have a scratch-resistant surface and a reflection-free surface. Polycarbonate is a very soft material. Though the optics have improved, we want you to see your best and don’t want you to have to hassle with unnecessary scratches. We do use polycarbonate (and/or Trivex) universally for children and those who need safety glasses, are involved in sports, or need a slightly thinner lens.
In this particular patient’s case, that was not the issue and so it is likely we chose plastic because it was economical and light, durable, and worked well with her frame. And, she was not in a high risk job needing impact-resistant lenses. In reality, I have only rarely in my 25 years as an eye doctor seen a patient where a plastic lens shattered. This can only happen in extreme situations. Lenses of all materials are required to go through drop-ball safety testing as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) before being released for prescription filling.