"Polycarbonate lens offered 100% protection from the harmful UV rays and were up to 10 times more impact resistant glass or plastic lenses that made polycarbonate lenses an instant hit. They were first developed in the 1970's for use in space related programs like visors on space suites and shuttle wind shields. In 1983, polycarbonate lenses were formally introduced to the marketplace by Gentex Corporation in response to the demand for light weight, durable and impact resistant lens."
Polycarbonate is a type of tough and versatile plastic that is used mainly for the manufacture for various things from bulletproof windows to compact discs (CDs). These days, polycarbonate is also used for making lenses that are light weight and almost damage proof. Though there are different eyeglass lenses types, when it comes to eye safety, polycarbonate lenses are considered the best option. These lenses can be used for eyeglasses, sports eye wear and sunglasses etc. Clear polycarbonate is used in the manufacture of eyeglasses, since it is transparent, durable and has a high infraction index. Polycarbonate lenses are the first plastic high index lens having one of the highest index ratings (1.586). They are thinner and more durable than other conventional and glass lenses and are used as prescription glasses for vision correction of even very high numbers.
- Greater protection: Polycarbonate lenses in your glasses protect your vision by holding up to rough play or sports practice. With high impact resistance, polycarbonate lenses provide greater protection against eye damage and vision loss from broken or shattered lenses.
- Lighter weight: Polycarbonate material is lighter than standard plastic or glass, which is highly suitable for people with strong prescriptions. As well as being lighter, polycarbonate lenses are thinner than standard plastic or glass, which contributes to the lighter weight.
- Scratch-resistant: Although no lens is scratch proof, polycarbonate lenses come with a scratch-resistant coating to keep them clear as long as possible, even when worn by children. Experts believe that a polycarbonate lens is significantly more shatter-resistant than glass or regular plastic lenses.
- UV protection: Polycarbonate lenses also offer inherent ultraviolet protection. About 99 percent of potentially damaging UV rays are filtered out by these lenses, whether the rays come from sunlight, fluorescent lights or a computer screen.
- Safety: Currently, the lenses and frames made from polycarbonate materials provide the highest level of impact protection. When glass or plastic lenses break, they do not break into harmless granules, but can break into sharp shards that can enter your eye and destroy your vision. That is why polycarbonate is far and away the safest of all the lenses made.
- One of the very few weaknesses or drawbacks of polycarbonate lenses is that they are not as good optically as high index or plastic lenses.
- People in prescriptions with higher powers sometimes have trouble seeing out the edges of the lenses -- your clear field of vision is not as wide as with glass or plastic lenses. Similarly, you should also remember that polycarbonate lenses bend light differently. As your vision is corrected by light passing through a prescription lens and focusing an image on your retina, polycarbonate bends light to a greater degree than glass or plastic lenses of equal thickness.
Therefore, if you previously wore a glass or plastic lens, there may be an adjustment period needed to adapt to polycarbonate lenses.
- Certain lens coatings may reduce the impact effectiveness of polycarbonate and some lens tints may be difficult or impossible to apply.
- Polycarbonate lenses will not shatter, they are more prone to scratching than other materials if not protected with scratch-resistant coating.
- Polycarbonate lenses are harder to make, they require more time to manufacture.
|Density (ρ)||1.20–1.22 g/cm3|
|Abbe number (V)||34.0|
|Refractive index (n)||1.584–1.586|
|Limiting oxygen index||25–27%|
|Water absorption –Equilibrium(ASTM)||0.16–0.35%|
|Water absorption – over 24 hours||0.1%|
|Ultraviolet (1-380nm) resistance||Fair|