Are Zeiss Eyeglass Lenses Better Than Other Brands?
November 17, 2006 7:01 PM   Subscribe

I'm about to buy a new pair of eyeglasses. For my prescription I want high index progressive lenses. I want the high index so the lenses will be as thin as possible. I keep hearing that Zeiss lenses are better than other brands and would like to know if this is true before I spend my money. Costco does not sell Zeiss. Is whatever Coscto sells as good optically?
posted by dclawyer to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
My opthamologist always tells me to get my glasses done at Costco. And they do good work. I am not familiar with Zeiss, sorry.
posted by JayRwv at 7:51 PM on November 17, 2006

You can sign a waiver so a good optician can make your glasses of really high index glass. Very thin, though heavier than plastic. You have to sign the waiver, though, since glass is breakable.
posted by LeisureGuy at 8:20 PM on November 17, 2006

This excellent Google answer regarding high index plastic lenses from March '06 provides many links that discuss various manufacturers offerings. According to that, Optima offers the highest index refractory material (at 1.74) of the major manufacturers, but for safety, you may still want to think about polycarbonate lenses. You could also ask about the availabiity of aspheric design lenses as a means of thinning and reducing the weight of the lenses. Finally, it's important to choose a frame with eye peices of as small a diameter as practical, to achieve the lightest and most comfortable lenses. Large aviator style frames are definitely out, as they may require lenses which are much thicker at the edges, particularly for a corrective prescription for significant myopia.
posted by paulsc at 11:27 PM on November 17, 2006 [1 favorite]

I can't tell you how many times I've heard opticians say "Oh, these lenses are just as good as Zeiss." Finally I got tired of having to go back and get the just-as-good lenses replaced with Zeiss. Now I ask for them to start with.

I like the UV and anti-glare coatings that Zeiss do; only one of my two lenses is high-index.
posted by ikkyu2 at 1:32 AM on November 18, 2006

6 years ago, I was living in Germany and bought glasses with Zeiss high index lenses. I'm still wearing them today and they are holding up wonderfully. The only scratch is from that time I managed (somehow) to hit myself in the face with the "teeth" of a hammer (don't ask). Definitely worth every penny I paid for them. I've also had Nikon lenses which were of excellent quality.
posted by bluefrog at 6:47 AM on November 18, 2006

Thanks for asking this question. It's interesting to note that of materials transparent over the approprate range of frequencies and tough enough, rutile (Titanium dioxide) seems to have the highest index of refraction at 2.62, diamond second at 2.417, and fused quartz a disappointing 1.46.
posted by jamjam at 1:45 PM on November 18, 2006

Brand (Zeiss) and material (high-index) aren't the same - you can get various brands in different materials. You'll get better optics if you don't get the very highest-index (or polycarbonate).

Especially for progressives, you really should think about both material and brand. And while smaller frames will make the lenses thinner, for progressives, you shouldn't get too short or you're likely to not be comfortable with the transition to the plus area. There are some lens brands that are supposed to be made for short frames, but I haven't read much good about them.
posted by EllenC at 3:50 PM on November 18, 2006

What PaulSC said, especially about aviator style frames.
Polycarbonate has a problem in that it has higher dispersion
(that is, the colors in your image will separate out, and
you'll see color fringes). I found it irritating. Polycarbonate is
okay for RX sunglasses, though.
I wear Zeiss high index plastic progressives, with antireflective
coating. You can't treat them like glass (no dry-wiping). I've
worn glass, high index glass, photochromic (old style) and
polycarbonate lenses, and these Zeiss lenses are the best
I've ever had.
posted by the Real Dan at 2:25 AM on November 19, 2006

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