Lenses of any material can be treated with coatings to give the lenses additional desired properties.

Anti-reflective coatings

(A-R coatings) are metallic oxide coatings that are vacuum-applied to the lens surface to reduce reflections from the front lens surface and eliminate reflections from the back. This reduced amount of reflection enhances the appearance of the glasses and also allows more light to pass through the lenses, which can improve vision in low-light situations. Anti-reflective coatings also provide some protection from scratching.

Photo chromic lenses

Change in colour and light transmission when exposed to different light intensities. The rate of darkening depends on the ambient temperature. These lenses do not become as dark when driving because the car’s windshield absorbs some of the ultraviolet light that causes the lenses to darken. Photo chromic lenses are now available in plastic as well as glass, and they may be either brown or gray in colour.

Mirror-coated Lenses

Coated with a layer of reflective material that greatly reduces the amount of heat entering the eyes. However, these lenses reduce visual acuity and are somewhat like looking through a two-way mirror. This kind of coating is purely cosmetic and frequently seen on glasses worn by state troopers. Mirror coatings come in a number of colours and are highly reflective. They usually are applied on sunglass-dark lenses. The persons looking at the wearer do not see the eyes of the wearer.

Ultraviolet protective lenses

Protect the eyes from ultraviolet sun rays.

Polarizing lenses

Useful in protecting eyes from reflections when skiing or participating in water sports. They are available in plastic, glass, and high-index materials, but they are relatively expensive compared to other lenses.

Scratch-resistant coatings

Often referred to as hard coat lenses. They are applied to the front and back surfaces of lenses to protect against accidental scratching and to improve durability. Some high-quality lenses come from the factory with scratch coatings already applied. No coating can make lenses completely scratch proof.