Anti-reflective coating (also called “AR coating”) is a coating for glasses lenses that decreases reflective light. 

Sounds simple enough, but what exactly does that mean? Let’s take a closer look at anti-reflective coating: what it is, how it works, and if it’s worth having. (Spoiler alert: It is!)

What Is Anti-Reflective Coating on Glasses Lenses?

Anti-reflective coating reduces reflective light—in other words, more light is able to pass through the glasses lens rather than bounce off of it. This means that you’ll have little to no reflections on the front or back surfaces of your lenses.

Have you ever been on a video call with someone wearing glasses and you can’t see their eyes because of the screen’s reflection on their glasses? Or how about having a perfectly good photo spoiled by the camera’s flash reflecting in your glasses? Annoying, right? Enter anti-reflective coating!

Anti-Glare vs. Anti-Reflective

Many people use the terms “anti-reflective” and “anti-glare” interchangeably, but there’s actually a difference between the two. “Anti-glare glasses” is a term that would more accurately describe polarized sunglasses, which block out super-bright light waves such as glare from the sun. On the other hand, anti-reflective coating allows light to pass through the lenses rather than create reflections of light on the lenses.

Glasses sitting on a stack of books

Reduce reflections and glare

Our lenses come standard with anti-reflective coating (and most of our sunglasses come standard with polarized lenses, too).

How Does Anti-Reflective Coating Work?

Different manufacturers have different formulas for their anti-reflective coating, but generally speaking—and without getting too science-y on you—AR coatings are made up of microscopic layers of metallic oxides, where each layer impacts different wavelengths of light. The layers are applied using a vacuum coating technology.

A regular lens only lets so much light through—the rest is reflected off the lens. But a lens with anti-reflective coating applied lets almost 100% of light through.

Fun fact: Sometimes, depending on the formula, an AR coating might have a slight hint of color to it (e.g., blue, green, or purple), but it’s only noticeable when looking at the lens from certain angles.

Is Anti-Reflective Coating Worth It?

Right about now, you’re probably thinking, “Ok, but do I really need anti-reflective coating on my glasses?” Honestly, yes—anti-reflective glasses are totally worth it. (That’s why anti-reflective coating comes standard on our lenses. 😉) 

Benefits of Anti-Reflective Coating

  • It makes your glasses (and your eyes) look nice. Anti-reflective lenses will look nearly invisible without all those reflections on them, so people can better see those gorgeous eyes of yours.
  • It enhances visual acuity. Since more of your environment’s light is reaching your eyes and you aren’t as distracted by reflections on your lenses, anti-reflective coating optimizes your vision.
  • It reduces eye strain. Less reflections on your lenses make it easier for your eyes to view small patterns and letters, reducing eye strain. And, AR coating can be extra helpful for people who struggle with reflections on their lenses when doing computer work or with the halo effect around lights when driving at night. 

Anti-reflective coating becomes even more important when you have a stronger prescription that calls for high-index lenses, which tend to reflect more light than other types of eyeglass lenses

Caring for Glasses With Anti-Reflective Coating

There’s a misconception that glasses with AR coating are harder to keep clean because they smudge more easily. While this may have been the case a couple decades ago, this really isn’t an issue anymore with all of the advances that have been made to anti-reflective coating. Most anti-reflective coatings include a treatment that combats smudges by repelling moisture.

Read more: How to Clean Your Glasses the Right Way (and What You Should Never Do)

Anti-Reflective Coating Is Definitely Worth It

The takeaway? Anti-reflective coating on glasses is a must-have. They not only have a nicer aesthetic but also improve vision and reduce eye strain. 

Is it time for some new glasses (with shiny, new AR coating)? Book an eye exam with us—let’s get that prescription updated and find you some new favorite eyewear.

Glasses starting at $95

Each pair includes prescription lenses with scratch-resistant, anti-reflective, and superhydrophobic treatments—and they block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.

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