new glasses, weird reflections
October 28, 2008 12:41 PM   Subscribe

I'm seeing annoying reflections of lights around the lenses of my new glasses. Are the frames causing this or something else?

I recently acquired new spectacles. They're great except that I see reflections of lights above and below the lenses. For example, while watching TV I see the screen reflected above my field of vision. Driving at night is like looking at a disco ball, with taillight and headlight reflections above and below. The reflections vary depending on how my head is tilted.

The new glasses differ from my old ones in two respects -- I got the anti-glare coating, and the frames are translucent plastic instead of thin metal.

I was quick to blame the clear plastic frames. However, my wife mentioned this when calling our shop about her own specs, and they thought it was due to a polish on the lenses that will wear off over time. Well, there is a two week return policy, so I can't wait too long to see if that is the case.

Can anyone vouch for the shop's diagnosis? Should I ditch these frames?
posted by Ultra Laser to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Mmm...I'm tempted to say that it is because of the frames. I have a pair of these and I get the same sort of refraction of light; I also have tons of solid plastic frames and haven't had this effect with any other glasses. Since this is a safety hazard--it's interfering with your driving and all--I'd probably return them while you still can.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:47 PM on October 28, 2008

BTW, these are the frames.
posted by Ultra Laser at 12:51 PM on October 28, 2008

Sounds to me more like the lens has an internal reflection. I'm not sure how it would be the frames. Regardless of the cause, take them right back and get them fixed or returned. You should be able to replicate the effect for the staff at the shop by having them look at a bright object in a dark space.
posted by echo target at 12:59 PM on October 28, 2008

It sounds like you are not used to the anti-glare coating. (Which you should be careful in cleaning, by the way.)

Also, are the edges of the lenses exposed, such as rimless frames (or half frames), a stronger/thicker prescription, or "polished" edges on the lenses? This can cause new types of reflections and halos that you are not used to.
posted by jca at 1:00 PM on October 28, 2008

I have the same problem with the same frames and I got them from Zenni. Coincidence?
posted by nougat at 1:02 PM on October 28, 2008

There is no "polish" on lenses that wears off over time.
I'm betting the issue is with the frames, too. Clear plastic is certainly going to transmit light around the lenses.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:04 PM on October 28, 2008

Anti glare coating SUCKS. It takes ages to wear off (like a year) and by "wear off" I mean, have enough tiny scratches across it that it is more gone than present. I take decent care of my glasses but anti glare coating made me so sad ;(

I have a few pairs of translucent plastic frames and don't have distracting reflections due to that; but was driven crazy by anti glare coating. I would see by holding the glasses up to light at a distance, if light is shining through them or getting magnified. Otherwise I'd blame the coating and get new lenses.
posted by shownomercy at 1:14 PM on October 28, 2008

i agree that it's the clear plastic lenses causing the problem.

now to hijack, why is everyone against the anti-glare? i thought it was supposed to help cut down glare, which would be good, right? or have i just been falling for marketing?
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:28 PM on October 28, 2008

Whenever I put on a new pair of glasses it takes me a while to get used to the change in my peripheral vision. Especially since you've switched from metal to plastic, you're going to see some reflections that you're not used to. Clear plastic transmits light; the ones you picked are big and bulky, so it seems pretty reasonable they might be the reason for this.

I use anti-glare coating, and find that it (as advertised) reduces the amount of reflections I see, not the other way around, so I'd very much doubt that's the source of your problem. I like it, but as shownomercy demonstrates you do need to take care of it or it gets scratchy. (If you're getting scratches, shownomercy, then either your coating was poorly installed or you're not taking decent enough care. You can't get away with wiping your lenses on your shirtsleeves, for example.)

The "polish that will wear off over time" explanation is complete and utter BS; the fact that they tried to pull that on you makes me think you ought to return these and find a new doc just on general principle. But even without that, if these reflections are bad enough that you're uncomfortable, and you can return them, then go ahead and return them. The exact source of the problem doesn't really matter.
posted by ook at 1:35 PM on October 28, 2008

misanthropicsarah: the main purpose of the coating is to reduce reflections for other people looking at you, so they can see your eyes instead of a blank square of reflected light. Any change in your own vision is a secondary effect. Some people hate on it because it can get scratched if you're not careful with it, and once it starts getting scratched it looks really awful.
posted by ook at 1:39 PM on October 28, 2008

It's probably not the coating if you're just seeing reflections at the top and bottom of the lenses. Were the lenses beveled properly before being put in the frames? Perhaps the edges need to be roughed up slightly to prevent reflections.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:54 PM on October 28, 2008

Cool looking glasses. Keep them, the reflections will disappear. The brain is an amazing thing and will adapt. I got some rimless glasses with a high polish on the edges. Lots of reflections that was annoying for a while, then I never noticed it again.
posted by cosmac at 2:34 PM on October 28, 2008

If you can see any detail at all in these reflections, you can probably figure out whether they come from the frames or the anti-glare coating.

If they come from the frames, they will be simple reflections and will change the handedness of any object you see in them (e. g. if a person on TV raises their right hand, the reflection will raise the left). If they come from the anti-glare coating, they will have reflected first from the back inner surface of the the lens, then from the interface between the anti-glare coating and the lens in front. This will be a double reflection and will restore the the original handedness of the reflected object.

I'm betting on the anti-glare coating.
posted by jamjam at 4:21 PM on October 28, 2008

Not sure if it's your thing, but I see "spikes" of light around lights at night. I assumed it was a lens flare sort of effect from the lens and that it's normal.

I second the distrust of anti-glare coating. I've read and experienced that it makes you have to clean off smudges much more frequently than non-coated lens.
posted by wastelands at 4:23 PM on October 28, 2008

Oh, and as for anti-glare, I have not noticed any effects from anti glare coating that create this sort of thing. I'd say that about half of my glasses have it, but I'd be damned if I could tell you which one.

Since I love encouraging people to buy glasses online, if you're happy with the pair you have otherwise, you could always buy a cheap pair online to use for TV viewing and driving.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:22 PM on October 28, 2008

Get contacts. Seriously, I think it is just "something" about these glasses. I have had perhaps 3 pairs in my entire life that didn't have something horrible going on - reflections, hurt my ears, kept drawing my eyes to the little nose pads, that horrible thing where the whole world lurches when you turn your head suddenly...

This is since 3rd grade. I was finally able to afford contacts in high school.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:22 PM on October 28, 2008

Apparently the edges of the lenses are polished -- as opposed to the frosted look. Makes some sense to me that given the translucent nature of the frame that polished edge is going to do weird things.

They're going to redo the lenses sans edge polishing, which should help hopefully.
posted by Ultra Laser at 8:08 AM on October 29, 2008

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