Guide to Sunglass Lenses and Materials
For years the only choices for sunglass lenses were tempered glass and plastic.
The problem with glass lenses is weight while the problem with plastic lenses is scratches.
Today there are more choices and better options when it comes to sunglass lenses.
Tempered Glass Lenses
Glass lenses offer the clearest visual acuity and are also the most scratch resistant. Two of the best Made in the USA sunglass brands make ultrathin glass lenses for their flagship products:
Randolph Engineering Aviators which are standard issue to U.S. Military Pilots.
AO Eyewear Original Pilot sunglasses which were the first on the moon.
But, for some people, glass lenses are simply too heavy on their face.
Organic CR-39 Plastic Lenses
CR-39 lenses are thinner and weigh about half as much as glass lenses. It is the most widely used material in sunglasses today.
While CR-39 plastic lenses meet FDA requirements for impact resistance, they are not shatter proof and are not recommended for active sports participants.
Todays CR-39 lenses come with a Scratch Resistant coating which helps a lot in preventing scratches.
Polycarbonate plastic lenses are incredibly strong, weigh the least and are the most impact resistant lenses.
Polycarbonate lenses can stand the impact of a steel ball moving at 100 mph making it the perfect choice for shooting lenses.
They also have built in ultraviolet light filtering and are a great choice for outdoor sportsman.
Randolph RE Ranger Shooting glass lenses are polycarbonate lenses.
Today nylon, or polyamide lenses, are an excellent performing material which combines the advantages of polycarbonate and CR-39 plastic lenses.
These nylon lenses have an outstanding shock resistance while remaining lightweight. They will not crack when being shaped for frame shape, and are increasingly being used in general purpose sunglasses.
Nylon lenses are ideal for active sports enthusiasts.
Today Randolph Engineering offers nylon lenses in their SKYFORCE and SKYFORCE AIR sunglasses.
As you research sunglasses be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the various lens material choices available today.
Make sure the sunglasses you purchase will keep your eyes safe and comfortable under all anticipated conditions.
Until the next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!
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