What are High-Index Lenses?

Posted Nov 5, 2019 | Tips, Tricks & Tech

High-index lenses bend light more efficiently than a standard lens, which means thinner, lighter lenses can be used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. This is especially important for people with severe vision correction needs, as traditional lenses will be thick and heavy. High-index lenses allow them to leave the soda bottle glasses behind.

How Do High-Index Lenses Work?

All prescription lenses work by bending light so that it comes into focus directly on the retina. If this focal point falls in front of the retina, a person is nearsighted and has trouble seeing distant objects. If the focal point is behind the retina, the person is farsighted and can have trouble resolving things nearby. High-index lenses bend light more dramatically with less material, which is why they’re thinner and lighter than other lenses.

Who Needs High-Index Lenses?

You can find high-index lenses for almost any prescription power, but the real benefits are most apparent for people with severe myopia and hyperopia (near- and farsighted, respectively). For many years the only option was thick, heavy lenses that also limited their choice of glasses frames. These lenses were great at correcting vision problems but could be uncomfortable to wear and made many people self-conscious about their appearance. Opting for high-index lenses eliminates those concerns and lets people choose from a wide selection of glasses.

Your eye doctor can help you decide if high-index lenses are necessary. Need help getting a new prescription? Find optometrists and ophthalmologists near you.


Pros and Cons of Wearing High-Index Lenses

Here are some of the reasons people choose high-index lenses for glasses:
  • Lighter and more comfortable to wear
  • Thinner lenses
  • Compatible with many frames, including designer eyewear
  • Cosmetic appeal—they look like normal lenses
There are some potential drawbacks to high-index lenses:
  • Highly reflective, which can cause glare (we recommend an anti-reflective lens coating)
  • Higher cost than traditional lenses
  • More rigid, which can make it easier to damage them
  • Chromatic aberration may be noticeable near the edges, resulting in halos around bright objects or lights

Frequently Asked Questions About High-Index Lenses

Need more info on high-index lenses? Keep reading.

Do high-index lenses block UV rays?
All high-index lenses sold on block 100% of UV rays.

Are high-index lenses scratch-resistant?
All high-index lenses sold on are scratch and impact resistant.

Are high-index lenses worth the extra cost?
This will come down to personal preference, but they can be game-changers for people used to thick, heavy lenses.

Do high-index lenses cause distortion?
High-index lenses have a low Abbe value, which means they disperse more light than traditional lenses. That can cause minor distortions towards the edges of the frames.

Why are high-index lenses more expensive than standard alternatives?
The high-index plastic and technology behind these lenses makes it more costly to manufacture them.