Durable Anti-scratch Coatings?
May 17, 2008 2:38 PM   Subscribe

[Eyeglasses] Anti-scratch coatings deteriorate after a couple of years. Anyone found durable coatings?

Has anyone found durable anti-scratch coatings for eyeglasses? Durable meaning good for 5-10 years, for example.

And fairly tough, i.e., able to withstand regular 100 degree temperature changes. And while we're at it, why not anti-reflective, and anti-fog coatings, too.

And x-ray lenses ... (But seriously, if durable coatings don't really exist, then I figure I should be thinking of eyeglass lenses as a disposable item to be obtained from the internet. Must swear off Lens Crafters, too.)
posted by coffeefilter to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I can't speak to the chemistry of various coatings, but I have to say, I've gotten a lot better glasses deals by seeing an ophthalmologist for my exams, befriending my local independent optician, and swearing off LensCrafters and their ilk. I've got some wack-ass eye problems, but I still firmly believe that everyone's better off either going to the Net or being buddies with their local opticians before they trust chain optical places.

Plus, if you're on good terms with your optician, they're not going to sell you the crappy coatings that decay over time and make the scratch problems worse; they're going to call around for you and find a good deal that will do what you need. My opticians (and if you're in Los Angeles and want a great optician, MeMail me) have been scouring their list of vendors for the last two weeks finding me the best and most affordable set of progressive bifocals. You'll never get that at LensCrafters.

You might also look into going the high-end route and getting prescription lenses from Oakley or another extreme-sports sunglasses company, although I found it was pretty easy to scratch a conventional pair of Oakleys if I wasn't careful.

(Also, in 5-10 years, you could well need a new scrip anyways, due to factors like presbyopia or other longterm vision changes. That might be some of the reason that the coatings aren't manufactured to last that long-- people are going to change their lenses long before that's an issue.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 2:52 PM on May 17, 2008

I wish I could sue LensCrafters. About a year ago I got a new script and bought glasses there. They never felt right and I went back 3 times, even exchanged for a different pair, all in the first month, and they swore the glasses were right, it was just my 'new prescription'. After increasingly bad migraine headaches I visited, in the same week, doctor, dentist and optometrist. I had already been taking prescription pain meds (for migraines) for 10 months. In just seconds my eye doctor said, "well these glasses are all wrong".
I've just ordered two new pair from For Eyes, and they reccomended Trivex lenses. So while I haven't used the lenses before, my past experience with For Eyes (this is the 7th time I've used them) and the two (better) pair of glasses for less than the one pair at LensCrafters, I'm relaxed about my decision.
posted by dawson at 3:10 PM on May 17, 2008

If you end up going with the disposable item conclusion, there's always Zenni Optical. (prices start at $8.00!)
posted by dcjd at 3:10 PM on May 17, 2008

5-10 years? My daily wear frames start looking crappy around year 3, never mind the lenses. I just bought a new pair, and I asked about changing coatings; most of them are designed with a single purpose in mind. They did tell me to wash my lenses and not wipe them, ever, in order to preserve the coating.

Start buying cheaper glasses. The internet's been great for it.
posted by cobaltnine at 3:38 PM on May 17, 2008

Here's a good post on Zenni and some other cheap online retailers: the post.
posted by mecran01 at 3:52 PM on May 17, 2008

No coatings are going to last, simply because they are subject to constant abrasion from repeated cleanings. My opthamologist once let me in on a little secret re: coatings...get the anti-glare coating and nothing else. At least the lab she got lenses from incorporated an anti-scratch component into the glare coating anyway. It's like a double-secret two-fer.

And, yeah, LensCrafter are teh suck. With my previous insurance, my regular opthamologist wasn't in-network and would only pay if I went to LC. The first "doctor" I encountered saw fit to remove the astigmatism correction from my prescription without telling me, after the shortest exam I had ever had (and I've been wearing glasses since 3rd grade). After about an hour with the new lenses, I, of course, went back. Of course, the new lenses matched the prescription. I demanded a new examination with a different doctor. The new exam was about 3 times as long and very thorough. The new doc couldn't understand why the previous doc had removed my astigmatism correction, but he put it back in, as well as making a couple of other corrections.

The new lenses are only okay, but not nearly as good as what I had been used to getting from my regular opthamologist.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:06 PM on May 17, 2008

5-10 years? Usually my glasses have a 1-year warranty, and they start to wear out after about 2. And after 2 years don't you want a change?
posted by radioamy at 4:19 PM on May 17, 2008

I will never buy from my local optometrist again. For their insurance-copay price (~$60) on a single pair of glasses with the cheapest frames they had, no fancy coatings or anything, I bought TWO complete pair of glasses with anti-glare coating from optical4less in Hong Kong.

It takes 1-2 weeks to get your glasses in the mail, and your optometrist will glare at you when you tell them you just want a copy of the prescription, but your wallet will thank you.
posted by mrbill at 4:58 PM on May 17, 2008

To be honest with you, I didn't think daily-wear glasses were ever meant to last for more than a couple of years, especially the lenses.

I usually go for the best coating option, and I get my glasses done at an opthamologist (sp!), and I'm looking at my just-over-a-year-old lenses now and thinking I don't know if I can look through them for another year. My insurance covers new lenses every year.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 5:11 PM on May 17, 2008

Glass lenses. They don't scratch, even if you clean them on your shirt every day. They're heavier, but not overly-so, and you get used to it.
posted by Hildegarde at 6:12 AM on May 18, 2008

My experience is that glasses (except for real glass lenses and heavy duty frames) can't reasonably be expected to last 5 years and still look decent. Certainly not any with coatings. I used to get 3ish years on a pair of expensive lenses from a variety of store fronts.

I filled my most recent prescription at Zenni Optical online. I bought two pairs of glasses for $120. The same styles at lenscrafters would have run $800 (with 30% AAA discount), my optician wanted $900 (with my "vision insurance" discount). I spent $40 at some mall optical place to get my vision checked with the new glasses (they also did some basic test and believed the lenses to be made properly). Wal-Mart wanted $300 for two pairs of styles I did not like as much as any of the places above.

Reviews (which are very uneven) for most of the online glasses stores are available at Glassy Eyes. I will never again pay B&M store prices for glasses. If the glasses only last a year, I won't really care, I'll just replace them. At $25-100 (the range of glasses I considered) of glasses, I can buy them as fashion accessories.
posted by fief at 7:30 PM on May 18, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for your responses.

So: no Lens Crafters. Online is a viable possibility. Coatings do not last forever, and require gentle care ("anti-scratch" is relative). Glass, chemically inert glass, is an intriguing option.
posted by coffeefilter at 11:32 AM on May 19, 2008

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