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Polycarbonate or Trivex – What are the Best Lenses for Sports Glasses?

Learn how to choose the strongest lens materials for your sports glasses with this expert A Sight for Sport Eyes guide. 



Quality Lenses Can’t Be Underappreciated  


With a diverse selection available, you can purchase stylish glasses for the bike, sports field or the road that make you look and feel fantastic. 


Nevertheless, the purpose of eyewear is, first and foremost, to protect our eyes. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, nearly 30,000 sports-related eye injuries a year are treated in the U.S.  Additionally, 90% of serious eye injuries would have been avoided by simply wearing ‘appropriate’ protective eyewear.


Strong lenses, and frames, are essential to avoiding eye damage. Lenses shield our optics from potentially dangerous elements – harmful sun-rays, water, debris and, even, our fellow competitors. 


Sports Lenses are Different To Eyeglass Lenses 


If you’ve ever experienced your regular glasses breaking while playing sport, you’ll know how crucial it is to wear lenses built specifically for each sporting activity. 



One study found basketball is the leading cause of eye injuries in sport in the United States. Other sports with high eye injury rates include baseball, softball, racquetball and hockey.


Although your work or reading glasses are well-suited to seeing clearly and safely in the office or classroom, they are not prepared for the physical stress of running, jumping and clashing with others. Under such circumstances, the lenses could easily be dislodged or break into the eye. 


Thus, A Sight For Sport Eyes advises its sporty customers to look for durable glasses with lightweight, impact-resistant lenses. 


To date, the best two options are either Polycarbonate or Trivex  lenses. 


What are Polycarbonate Lenses?



Since its introduction to the eyeglass market in the early 1980s, Polycarbonate lenses have become the standard for lightweight, shatter-resistant optical lenses. 


A Polycarbonate lens is made from strong, flexible and transparent material that is lighter than glass and possesses a natural ultraviolet (UV) filter. 


Polycarbonate is a thermoplastic polymer – a plastic that can be easily molded at high temperatures. 


During the manufacturing process of injection molding, Polycarbonate lenses are melted, compressed and shaped under high pressure, and then cooled into the final product. 


What are Trivex Lenses?



Originally developed for visual armor for military personnel, Trivex lenses were first used in the mainstream eyeglasses industry in 2001. 


Boasting three main properties – an ultralightweight feel, toughness and superior vision clarity – Trivex lenses aim to include the best qualities of regular eyeglasses and impact-resistant Polycarbonate lenses, without their respective weaknesses.  


Consisting of a urethane-based pre-polymer, Trivex lenses are manufactured using cast moulding – like standard plastic lenses – to provide users with crisp and clear vision. 


HEAD-TO-HEAD COMPARISON: Polycarbonate Lenses vs. Trivex Lenses 


The Thinner Lens? 


Thinner lenses are lighter and more comfortable to wear and look better in our glasses. Today, no one wants to deal with a pair of clunky, cumbersome glasses awkwardly wedged onto their nose bridge all day. 


Polycarbonate lenses have the advantage in this area, with the average Polycarbonate lens being up to 10% thinner than Trivex lenses.


Lens thickness is measured by the index of refraction - the relative measure of how efficiently the lens material can bend and facilitate light.


The higher the number, the thinner the lens, as more refraction means less lens material is needed to create clear vision. Polycarbonate has a 1.58 index of refraction compared to Trivex’s 1.53 measurement. 




The Lighter Lens? 


Being lightweight is a very important attribute for glasses and lenses. More natural-feeling, lightweight lenses enable you to move your face around with ease. The best sports glasses offer superior eye protection, but are so light, you almost forget you’re wearing them. 


Although Polycarbonate lenses are thinner, Trivex’s lenses in sports glasses are significantly lighter in weight. In fact, Trivex lenses are the lightest lens material available, even compared to regular eyeglasses lenses. Trivex’s density is 16% lighter than common plastic lenses and 8% lighter than Polycarbonate. Polycarbonate lenses are still relatively light, as they typically weigh less than high-index plastic lenses. 


The Best Option – TRIVEX 


The Clearest Vision? 


Visual clarity and sharpness could be the difference between you finishing first instead of second, hitting a home run or striking out.


Trivex lenses produce both sharper central and peripheral vision with less experiences of haziness, and colored halos around objects, than Polycarbonate lenses. 


A lens material’s optical clarity is measured using the ‘Abbe value’, which indicates how widely the lens disperses different wavelengths of light as light passes through it. 


Effectively, the higher the Abbe value, the better vision. Trivex recorded a high Abbe value of 45, compared to polycarbonate’s score of 30, showing your vision will be clearer and contain less distortions with the former.


The Best Option – TRIVEX 


Best Impact-Resistance and UV Protection?


Both Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses have equally great ratings in these areas. Regarding impact resistance, you can feel confident that both these glasses will survive being dropped and collisions thanks to shatter- and scratch-resistant materials. 


Likewise, if you’re out in the sun all day, the UV protection offered by both lenses ensures all the harmful sunrays are blocked out, as standard. No additional UV-blocking lens coatings are required for either Polycarbonate or Trivex lenses. 


The Best Option – TIE (Both Are Great)


Best Cost and Availability?


Understandably you want to buy the best lenses for your sports glasses in the most convenient way possible and without having to spend a fortune. 


Polycarbonate lenses tend to be slightly easier for customers to buy. Partly due Polycarbonate lenses’ longer established position in the eyeglass market, they seem to have greater availability across America. From progressive lenses to other multifocals, Polycarbonate lenses can be found in a wider variety of lens designs compared to Trivex  lenses. 


The price of Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses can also vary considerably, However, Trivex lenses, on average, cost more than comparable Polycarbonate lenses. 




Made a Decision Yet? 


When it comes to protecting your eyes during sports activity, Polycarbonate and Trivex eyeglass lenses are only part of the solution. Great lenses are nothing without high-quality glasses frames to accompany them. 


If you’re still struggling to figure out which lens is best for you, feel free to leave us a comment in the chat or contact A Sight For Sport Eyes and we can try our best to answer your questions. 


Check out A Sight For Sport Eyes’ leading range of sports glasses with Trivex  and Polycarbonate lens options available. 


Image Credit: Pexels





26 Sep 2019

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