Anti-Reflective Coating On Glasses: Is It Worth Getting?

felix gray anning blue light glasses

If you wear glasses, you’ve probably been offered various lens treatments while at the optometrist. When this happens, most of us say no – after all, your glasses or sunglasses work fine, so why would you want to pay extra?

Anti-reflective coatings (ARCs) are one of the most popular kinds of lens treatments available – and compared to some of the other options your eye doctor may offer, eliminating annoying glare is almost always worth it.

What is an anti-reflective coating on glasses?

When it comes to lenses – specifically the lenses used in your glasses – reflections can be a major hassle. Obviously, an anti-reflective coating is used to reduce these “reflections”.

But what does that really mean? Honestly, the best way to think about anti-reflective glasses is to just consider them “anti-glare” glasses, as reducing the total amount of glare you experience is their primary use. And while we’ll only be focusing on glasses in this guide, ARCs are also used on lenses found in telescopes and microscopes as well where they serve the same purpose.

Glare doesn’t only originate from sunny skies, either. Screens from digital devices are also responsible for glare, and because most of us are staring at screens for hours upon hours each day, applying an anti-reflective coating to your glasses could help you avoid vision issues like digital eye strain.

Blue light glasses are a special kind of anti-reflective glasses. While they’re similar to normal ARCs, blue light lenses feature additional blue light blocking capabilities – which makes them the perfect option for soothing eyes stressed by computer screens.

Our Choice: The Anning

felix gray anning blue light glasses

How do anti-reflective coatings work?

On a fundamental level, anti-reflective coatings are designed to absorb and reflect light and glare by using a series of layers composed of dielectrics and nano or microstructures. To put it simply, an anti-glare coating is an optical engineering marvel featuring ultra-thin glare-stopping properties that improve overall visual clarity by reducing reflective light.

The good news is, despite the complicated engineering behind AR coating manufacturing, these coatings can be applied to both prescription and non-prescription glasses. So whether you need glasses to drive and read, or you’re simply wearing fake glasses as a fashion statement – ARCs are an option you should consider.

These coatings are physically applied to lenses, which means they can be scratched or damaged if you aren’t careful. Aside from this one minor downside, the benefits of using AR coatings heavily outweigh any issues that may sprout up even compared to specialized scratch resistant lenses.

Is anti-reflective coating worth it?

One of the main draws of using AR coatings is that they have virtually zero downsides, but come with a stacked roster of benefits – so let’s talk about what you’re paying for if you decide to pick up a new pair.

And on that note, the other great thing about ARCs is that they aren’t very expensive. This kind of complex coating engineering has rapidly improved in recent years, and with these improvements the cost of applying them to glasses has reached an affordable price for most people, including children.


The major benefits of using ARCs include:

  • Low barrier of entry in terms of price
  • Clearer vision free from glare and reflections
  • Anti-glare glasses are very easy to clean (due to hydrophobic chemical layers)
  • Incredibly thin – this means your lenses won’t appear thick or outdated
  • ARCs are engineered to be quite durable despite how thin they are


Benefits aside, there are a few AR coating cons worth mentioning, including:

  • Coated lenses can be scratched easily and require special care when cleaning them
  • If your eyeglass lenses are damaged, you’ll have to fully replace the coating
  • Uncoated lenses are generally cheaper
  • Don’t work with contact lenses

If you’re someone who wears glasses everyday, the benefits of using ARCs will become apparent almost immediately. On the other hand, if you only wear glasses occasionally, ARCs may not be that important in the long run.

With that being said, let’s explore some of the main reasons you might want to start wearing glasses with ARCs – these tinted glasses aren’t reserved only for those who work outdoors, nearly anyone can enjoy the benefits listed above:

Reasons for wearing glasses with anti-reflective lenses

So, who might want to wear glasses featuring ARCs – and why? Depending on your lifestyle, there’s a very good chance you could benefit from them. Here are some of the most useful applications of ARCs in everyday life:

  • Reducing glare from headlights or the sun while driving (including at night)
  • Eliminating digital eye strain caused by excessive amounts of blue light
  • Protecting your eyes from UV exposure – ARCs often contain UV-filters
  • Decreasing the amount of glare your glasses pick up from behind you

For those of us who wear glasses while driving, the threat of being blinded by poorly-adjusted headlights is real. In fact, reducing the insane glare caused by luminous, bright lights situated on massive lifted trucks prowling your neighborhood is one of the easiest things to fix with ARCs.

Aside from headlights, ARCs are also adept at protecting your eyes from heavy UV-ray exposure and glare from the sun (similar to polarized glasses), as well as blue light emanating from your computer or phone screens. It’s likely you spend hours each day using digital screens, and over time this exposure adds up and may result in some seriously stressful eye strain.

Finally, it’s worth expanding a bit on decreasing glare from behind you while wearing glasses. Light and glare can reach the lens from sources both in front of you and behind you – for example, if your workspace includes a floor lamp directly behind you. This is something most of us aren’t aware of, even if we’ve been wearing glasses for decades.

Choosing a pair of glasses with an anti-reflective coating

If you’re looking for a new pair of glasses featuring ARCs, you’re going to want to look into picking up a pair of our blue light glasses. And just to be clear, this type of glasses do not feature blue lenses – when you shop at Felix Gray, you’ll be able to choose from a range of options including amber glasses, glasses with clear lenses, and even sunglasses featuring blue light filters.

Amber lenses are a particularly interesting option – as they’re designed with higher-quality sleep in mind. Amber-tinted lenses have been found to increase natural melatonin secretion – a chemical our bodies regularly produce – resulting in better sleep overall. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that wearing amber lenses for two hours before bedtime resulted in substantial improvements in overall sleep quality.

Our Choice: The Nash

Caring for glasses with anti-reflective coatings

Once you’ve picked up a pair of glasses with an anti-reflective lens coating, you’ll need to be careful about keeping them in pristine condition. You don’t have to obsess over their care, but the complex nature of ARCs means damaging them may result in the need to completely replace the coating.

The basics of caring for standard anti-reflective coating glasses is pretty similar to a regular pair. Here’s how to do it properly:

  • Only use a nanofiber or microfiber cloth cleaning kit for glasses
  • Use mild soap or lens spray and warm water as your cleaning solution
  • When cleaning, spray the solution on your cloth instead of directly on your glasses
  • Never wash your cloth in the laundry – hand wash it with dish soap then air dry
  • Replace your microfiber cloth as needed to prevent scratches

The main thing you want to avoid doing is scratching your anti-reflective coating – and this can happen quite easily if you’re cleaning them incorrectly. Using something like your t-shirt to wipe off your anti-glare glasses will almost certainly result in tiny, microscopic scratches on the lens surface.

Because ARCs are more sensitive to physical abrasion than standard lenses, these tiny scratches can quickly add up to create cloudy, annoying smudges on your lenses which defeat the entire purpose of adding a specialized coating in the first place.

Final thoughts

Picking up a pair of glasses with an anti-reflective coating is worth it for anyone who wears a pair regularly. If you’re tired of glare, reflections, and eye strain – anti-reflective lenses are here to save the day.

If you’ve read enough and are ready to pull the trigger on a new pair, start by browsing our blue light glasses; if you want to learn more about the different types of glasses out there, check out the rest of our blog content.