What are aspheric lenses?
Aspheric lenses are slimmer, flatter optical lenses compared to traditional prescription lenses. These lenses are available in both glasses and contacts, making more stylish options available to prescription lens wearers than ever.
If the word aspheric is new to you, we’ll break down everything you need to know about what aspheric lenses are, how they work, and the benefits and drawbacks of wearing them. By the end of this article, you’ll feel primed and ready to discuss aspheric lenses with your doctor if they are of interest to you.
How aspheric lenses work
The technology behind aspheric glasses and contact lenses is directly related to advances made in camera lens technology. Just like the human eye, some camera lenses are shaped in such a way that visual aberrations and distortion can occur in the images they capture. The shape of the eye can also contribute to distorted vision. That’s why lenses are specially designed to balance and correct for the unique shape of a person’s eye—and why the technology has had to come a rather long way.
While traditional lenses have gone far to help the millions of people who suffer from farsightedness or nearsightedness, they add a marked spherical, convex curvature to the shape of the lens. This can distort the appearance of the eyes and facial areas. Traditional convex lenses can create a magnifying, bug-eyed effect on farsighted prescriptions or a minimizing, beady-eyed effect on nearsighted prescriptions. This noticeable curvature of the lens distorts the appearance of the wearer and the glasses alike, detracting from overall perceived attractiveness while also dealing an unnecessary blow to self-confidence.
Benefits of aspheric lenses
With the advancement of aspheric lens technology, we now have more glasses frame styles available to more people than ever, with significantly less bulging of the lens and a lightweight feel for comfortable wear. These advanced lenses are cut to a slimmer profile, with much flatter curves that are strategically shaped depending upon the wearer’s prescription. This slim profile means that the glasses frames can sit closer to the face for a much more natural, streamlined look. This is a big advancement for folks with especially high prescriptions. If you’re in the market for aspheric lenses, limited frame materials, shapes, and sizes are no longer an issue, either.
Not only are ‘coke bottle lenses’ a thing of the past, but aspheric lenses also offer a better degree of vision correction. When wearing traditional lenses, you may notice some visual distortion when you look anywhere other than the direct center of the lens. Aspheric lenses, on the other hand, promote a wider field of vision with better peripheral vision and more consistent overall image magnification, allowing for clearer and more accurate vision. This is the same reason many photographers prefer aspheric camera lenses - a wider field of vision means more of the beautiful world is accurately captured in a single glance.
Drawbacks of aspheric lenses
The major disadvantage of aspheric lenses is their price. These advanced vision correcting lenses cost more to manufacture than traditional lenses do, involving more steps, more precision, and more labor. If you have an extremely mild need for vision correction, then aspheric lenses may not be the most logical choice for you.
Another factor to consider is that, due to their flatter profile and closer proximity to the face, aspheric lenses may produce noticeable reflections for some wearers. Anti-reflective coating is recommended for all aspheric lens wearers to eliminate any potential for visual distraction that reflections can cause.
Finally, as mentioned in the beginning of this article, aspheric lenses are also an option for some contact lens wearers. However, the performance of aspheric contact lenses, when compared with that of aspheric glasses, may leave something to be desired. Many find that regular, spherical contact lenses work just as well, if not better than the newer aspherical contact lenses do. With two primary options of aspheric contact lens prescriptions being bifocal and multifocal, visual aberrations can be corrected in the wearer. However, visual contrast may reduce slightly, while glare caused by driving at night may increase - particularly for those who wear multifocal aspheric contacts. For these reasons, aspheric contact lenses may not be for everyone.
Who should wear aspheric lenses
In general, many people with moderate to high need of vision correction for nearsightedness or farsightedness can benefit from the advances of aspheric lenses, particularly if worn in prescription glasses. Those with lower prescriptions will not see noticeable improvements to make the cost of aspheric lenses worthwhile. While some may want to try aspheric contact lenses, particularly those with bifocal rather than multifocal prescriptions, the benefits are mixed and should be discussed with your eye doctor. Those with astigmatism may not benefit as high as others and may be better off discussing toric lens options. Finally, aspheric lenses are a good option for many who use non-prescription reading glasses, too! If your readers are at a high reading power of +4.00 or higher, you may want to explore aspheric options.
As you can see, aspheric lenses offer many aesthetic and vision-correcting benefits for their wearers. But just like any prescription, these types of glasses or contact lenses should be thoroughly discussed with your eye doctor to make the best decision for you. Even if you’re considering non-prescription readers with aspheric lenses, it's worth it to mention the change to your doctor.
Your eye shape is unique to you and you alone; this means that your lenses, whether aspheric prescription or non-prescription, must be customized to your unique eye shape. An experienced optometrist can assess your vision needs and recommend the most appropriate and flattering lenses for you. Get in touch with our team today to discuss your interest in aspheric lenses!