Your High Prescription Lenses Don’t Have to Be Coke-Bottle Thick!

The standard lens index material in plastic, also known as CR39 material, is *1.5 index. Other lens materials in plastic are *1.56, *1.6, *1.67 and *1.74.

If you have complex or strong prescriptions, wearing spectacles can be an uncomfortable experience. Thick eyeglasses sometimes make you feel like the weight of the world is on your nose!

Years ago, standard lenses for strong prescriptions used to be very thick and very heavy to adequately correct vision—that is until high index lenses came into the picture.

Optical dispenser and practice manager Greg Sexty is involved in the optics for over 30 years, advising patients on spectacles choice and lens type and ensuring good quality control.

We’ve asked Greg Sexty, practice manager and optical dispenser at Eyecare Plus Kareela, to help us understand these special lenses better.

Q: What are high index lenses?

A: High index  lenses are lenses made from a material that is of a higher density material, enabling light to be bent. The higher the index, the thinner the lens, resulting in improved vision for you the wearer and also giving a much more appealing cosmetic look for people looking at you. This reduces the Coke-bottle effect.

Q. How long have these lenses been available?

A: High index lenses have been on the market for many years, with improvements being made over time. Manufacturers are investing time and money to develop new products, resulting in better options for the spectacles wearer with a strong lens power.

Q: What types of lenses are available?

A: High index lenses are now available for all lens types—whether they be Single Vision, Bifocal, Extended Focus, Anti Fatigue or Multifocal lenses.

Also patients/customers can get two lens types within these high index lens range: one being a spherical lens design, the other being an aspheric lens design.

Lenses with a strong power are more curved, both back and front, so straight lines (example, door frames) can appear to be curved for the wearer due to the high lens power and curvature of the lens.

The main difference is that the aspherical lens generally gives better visual acuity due to a flatter lens design. These lenses give a more natural view of the world.

Q: How thin can high index lenses get?

A: This will depend on the lens power and the index of the lens and also the frame selection. The bigger the frame, the more thickness and more weight. At our practice we offer spherical lenses, aspheric lenses, as well as individualised double aspheric lenses, which are custom made for the thinnest possible and most individualised look possible.

Q: We’ve heard of the advantages. Are there any disadvantages to high index lenses?

A: High index lenses only give a positive outcome to the wearer, both in vision and aesthetics. The only drawback is it costs more than regular standard lenses, but the benefits far outweigh the cost.

Q: When a person with high script comes to the practice, what do you usually ask or tell them?

A: Normally when a patient with high prescription comes into the practice, the first thing we assess is the type of lens they are wearing and the size of the frame. We then check “pupil distance,” “optical centre heights,” “frame tilt and wrap” (things you don’t need to know for now, but which we will gladly explain to you at the practice) and ask from which country they got their lenses. We then generally inform the customer of their options.

Q: Can you tell us about patients you’ve seen who have very high scripts? How did you fix this?

A: *1 A young lady in her 20’s with a +5.50 script who was not aware that she could get a lens that would not only improve her vision but also “improve the look” of her spectacles.

The process was simple. We explained the benefits and helped with frame selection to improve the look and comfort. The result was a very happy customer with improved confidence and a modern look. She even got a new haircut and developed a new style because we gave her the correct advice!

*2  A man in his 40’s with a -18.50 script. His old spectacles were ill fitting (too big), resulting in him looking out the top of the lens, giving less than optimal vision, not to mention very thick lenses. A smaller frame gave him a much better look and also much better vision.

*3 A young school girl with a high plus prescription whose parents were apprehensive about upgrading their daughter to a much thinner lens due to the cost. Her grandad came in with her, and we had a talk. I explained the benefits of a thinner lens and also the way this choice would affect her confidence for many years to come. The result was a much brighter and confident child due to her not getting teased at school. I was fortunate to see her grow into a very confident young lady, as she would always come to see me to get her spectacles.

Q: What key points should a person with high scripts consider before choosing their lenses?

A: There are 3 key points to consider that will result in the best outcome for the wearer.

* 1. Frame size

* 2. Frame wrap (or how the frame wraps around your face)

* 3. Index material (refractive index is the index that light bends in the material)

Q. Can people with serious eye injuries and other eye problems wear high index lenses?

A:  Yes, they can.

Q: What do high index lenses cost?

A: High index lenses do cost more than a normal 1.5 index lens, but the benefits are easy to see.

Q: Are there also high index sunglasses?

A: Yes, although there are restrictions due to lens power and lens type.

For high prescriptions, do not rely on online purchase to give you the correct lens and frame measurements. Best to see your optician in person.


Q: Can I purchase high index lenses online, or do I need to be personally assessed?

A: No, it would not be possible for a correct script to be made with a high script online due to the measurements and frame selection process.

Q: What makes Eyecare Plus different in terms of providing our patients/customers with high index prescriptions?

A: At Eyecare Plus we are independent optometrists, enabling us to have freedom of choice when using the world’s leading lens manufacturers. Choosing the right place to get spectacles for best vision is very important.

High index lenses are the the thinner, lighter alternative to standard lenses, providing greater comfort, more options when choosing frames, resulting in more comfort, better vision and a more flattering appearance.

At our Eyecare Plus practices, we use the world’s leading lens manufacturers, so you can be confident that you will be getting a premium product to best suit your needs. Our optical dispensers make sure your lenses are as thin and light as possible, giving you the best results for your prescription. We’ll also help you find the perfect frame from our fantastic selection—we have frames from top-end designers as well as a selected quality budget range.
We’ll make sure you look great no matter how strong your prescription is!


Previous Post
7 Simple Things You Can Do at Home to Improve Dry Eye
Next Post
Eyecare Plus Broadway Awarded Finalist for Best in Practice Growth!