Polycarbonate Lenses vs Glass Lenses

Jun 1, 2024

polycarbonate lenses and glass lenses

When you think of glasses frames, we bet you naturally believe your lenses are made from glass. We wouldn’t blame you: glass has been used for hundreds of years and holds all the qualities we would expect to see: transparency, protection, and strength.

However, with the wonderful developments of optical technology, we’ve discovered polycarbonate lenses that are equally, if not more, beneficial than glass. Providing wearers with eyewear that is durable, resilient, flexible and customisable to their needs. Often, at a much lower cost, too!

This blog delves deeper into the pros and cons of polycarbonate and glass lenses to help you decide which ones are right for you.

What Are Polycarbonate Lenses?

Polycarbonate lenses are essentially plastic lenses. The polycarbonate material consists of thermoplastic polymers, giving it strength, flexibility and unrivalled resilience. It’s virtually an unbreakable plastic and is produced in transparent or opaque sheets, making it ideal for glasses lenses! According to Lensmart, polycarbonate lenses were used in the Apollo Space Shuttle expedition, which means your lenses are made from the same substance as astronauts – we’ll take that!

What Are Polycarbonate Lenses Used For?

Due to their flexible and high-quality properties, Polycarbonate lenses are commonly used in safety glasses, sports goggles and children’s eyewear. However, after seeing how robust and effective this material is, polycarbonate lenses are now widely used as a substitute for glass lenses, especially at Lensology.

The Benefits of Polycarbonate Lenses

There’s a reason why opticians and lens reglazing companies like us recommend polycarbonate lenses. In fact, there are lots of reasons! Polycarbonate lenses boast several advantages, not only to extend the life of your glasses but also to offer the wearer a clear, consistent, and comfortable viewing experience.


We’ve already mentioned that polycarbonate lenses are good enough for space travellers, but did you know they protect eyes across multiple industries? You can find polycarbonate lenses in safety helmets, headlamp lenses, medical glasses, construction goggles and even bullet-resistant glasses!

Lensology Pricing

By opting for polycarbonate lenses, we ensure we’re not only offering our customers an affordable reglazing solution but we’re also providing them with a reliable and practical lens that they can fully customise with prescriptions, colours, gradients and coatings.

UV Protection

In the modern world, our eyes are consistently exposed to harmful rays. Using a lens material like polycarbonate, which naturally provides UVA and UVB light protection, you can effortlessly shield your eyes without additional coatings.

Lightweight Lenses

Made from a thin thermoplastic, polycarbonate lenses offer a remarkably lighter lens for your frames. This means that they can fit into more glasses styles but also provide a comfier fit; the weight on the lenses doesn’t push onto the bridge of your nose.


With polycarbonate lenses, you know they’re built to last. Its composition creates a highly impact-resistant lens, resilient to everyday elements and general handling of glasses. They’re not fully shatter-proof but extremely strong, providing peace of mind that your lenses will last.

Can You Still Get Glass Lenses?

Glass lenses not only provide huge advantages to the eyewear world, they’re a traditional method for making lenses going back to the 13th century! They’ve stuck around for good reason, and many traditionalists are still eager to use glass lenses. Although Lensology provides polycarbonate lenses, you can still source glass lenses for your glasses frames.

Pros and Cons of Glass Lenses

There are a few positive factors of glass lenses that keep them around:

  1. They provide the best refractive index – which is what we want from our lenses in the optical world!
  2. They have a higher scratch resistance, which protects them from general wear and tear.
  3. Sometimes, glass lenses are better suited for stronger prescriptions, such as strong sphere or cylinder requirements.
  4. If needed, glass can be shaved thinner than plastic.
  5. They are relatively strong and durable (unless dropped on hard surfaces!).

However, there are several factors why many glasses wearers are moving away from glass lenses, such as:

  1. Glass is often heavier, even when thinned.
  2. It’s naturally a thicker material, which can add to the weight of the lens.
  3. They’re limited to frame styles, being better suited to slim, rectangular frames.
  4. As they are at risk of shattering, glass lenses aren’t suitable for all jobs, sports or lifestyles.
  5. There’s less opportunity to personalise glass lenses as they can be challenging to tint.
  6. This also means they have limitations when it comes to transition lenses.

Polycarbonate vs Glass Sunglasses Lenses

When it comes to your stylish sunnies, glass sunglasses lenses might not be the most practical, especially if you’re hoping to personalise them with a particular tint or gradient. Glass is naturally non-absorbent, making it tricky to apply colour. Whereas, if you opt for polycarbonate sunglasses lenses, you have the flexibility to choose from a range of colours, gradients and finishes for the perfect pair of sunglasses.

Which Lens Is Best: Glass or Polycarbonate?

This all comes down to budget, prescription needs and personal preference. It’s important to decide what you want from your glasses frames and find the right lens to match. At Lensology, we purposely use polycarbonate lenses as we believe they provide the most benefits and options for our customers.

Their versatility allows you to customise your lenses without buying new or multiple pairs of specs!

Ready to order your FREE pack?

We provide a free postal pack that is delivered straight to your door, inclusive of a free return postage box for your frames. You’ll just need to provide a few simple details and then we can get it over to you ASAP!