Trivex & Polycarbonate Lenses: Here’s Our Quick Guide

When investing in eyeglasses, most patients prioritize things like price and aesthetics. These things are significant, but one additional thing should be considered: durability. Whether you are wearing your eyeglasses every day or occasionally, you want something that will last. Choosing your frame is more of an aesthetic process, but choosing a lens comes down to what your needs are. Today, we will be discussing two popular options for durability: polycarbonate and Trivex. What are the key differences, and what do they mean for you?

What to Know about Eyeglass Lens Materials:

Although most eyeglass lenses look alike, they can perform differently and are used for many different purposes. The makeup of a lens determines the index of refraction, which is how quickly light moves through it, as well as its Abbe value (a higher Abbe value reduces the occurrence of halos around objects or lights, and distortion in your sight). There are four different types of lens materials being used in modern eyeglasses:

  • Glass Lenses: These types of lenses are very rarely still available. Glass lenses provide clear vision, but it’s extremely fragile and heavy. They are also a risk to your eyes and skin in case of breakage. That is why most lens outfitters no longer offer glass as an option when choosing lenses.
  • CR-39 Plastic Lenses: These types of lenses came about in the 40’s, as an affordable and less heavy alternative to glass lenses. At the time, they were less likely to shatter than glass lenses, and were also a little bit lighter! They also had a high Abbe value, which made them very clear. The downside to these types is that they are still on the thick side and can usually accommodate low-strength prescriptions.
  • Polycarbonate Lenses: These have a high refractive index, so they’re lightweight with good efficiency. They are also easy for lens manufacturers to shape and still maintain a sturdy and impact-resistant factor. These lenses are the most recommended for children because of their durability, but they also are beneficial for adults. These came onto the glasses scene in the 1970’s and are now known as the “standard” choice for most eyeglass needs.
  • Trivex Lenses: Trivex Lenses have a higher Abbe value than polycarbonate lenses and they are slightly lighter. This is a wonderful benefit, but they are thicker than polycarbonate lenses for prescriptions over +/-3.00 and they are a higher investment. Trivex lenses are crafted of a urethane-based monomer and created using a slower, molding process that is carefully baked. This means the lenses have sharper optics, according to PPG Industries (manufacturer).

How do Trivex Lenses Compare to Polycarbonate?

Optical clarity: Trivex has better optical clarity than polycarbonate, providing clearer and sharper vision. Polycarbonate can have more distortion and may not offer as crisp an image as Trivex.
Impact resistance: Both polycarbonate and Trivex are impact-resistant materials, but polycarbonate is generally more impact resistant. Polycarbonate is often used in safety glasses and sports goggles, where impact resistance is critical.

UV protection: Both materials offer excellent UV protection, blocking out 100% of UV rays. However, some polycarbonate lenses may have less UV protection levels than Trivex lenses.

Weight: Trivex is lighter than polycarbonate, making it more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time. This is particularly important for people with stronger prescriptions, as heavier lenses can cause discomfort and strain.

Scratch resistance: Trivex has better scratch resistance than polycarbonate, making it a good choice for people who are rough on their glasses. Polycarbonate lenses are still scratch-resistant, but not to the same degree as Trivex.

Cost: Trivex lenses are generally more expensive than polycarbonate lenses. However, the price difference may be worth it for people who prioritize optical clarity, scratch resistance, and lighter weight.

Trivex offers better optical clarity, scratch resistance, and lighter weight, while polycarbonate is generally more impact-resistant and more affordable. Ultimately, the choice between the two materials will depend on individual preferences. At Medical Eye Center, we specialize in customized eye care, and can guide you through the process of selecting the best choice for your personal needs. So come to one of our Southern Oregon locations today, and our optical staff can answer any questions you may have.



Planning Your Travel Eye Care Routine

Do you love to travel and explore new places, but find yourself struggling with eye discomfort or irritation? Whether you’re hopping on a plane, embarking on a road trip, or simply taking a weekend getaway,

Read More »