Anti glare glasses explained

There’re so many lens options to choose from.

Purchasing new glasses, many of these upgrades and lens coatings can seem like an upsell.

You’re probably wondering, what are the benefits of anti-glare glasses? And what do they do?

This article explains if anti-glare really works and if it’s worth your money.

Let’s delve in.


What are anti-glare glasses?

Anti-glare or anti-reflective is an additional lens coating designed to improve your clarity of vision. This coating increases the amount of light passing through your lenses by decreasing the light reflecting off their front and rear surfaces.


Due to the way this coating works, anti-glare helps you see more clearly by letting as much as 99% of the light through the lens, rather than it bouncing off.

The more light that gets through your lens, the better you can see.

Sounds good right?


Blonde woman wearing tortoise anti glare glasses looking upwards

Is anti-glare same as anti-reflective?

Yes, anti-glare and anti-reflective are the same thing. You may also hear them being called AG or AR for short. Another industry term for this coating is MAR which is an acronym for Multi-Layered-Anti-Reflective.


Is anti-glare same as blue light?

No, anti-glare is not the same as a blue light blocking coating. Anti-glare reduces reflections across your lenses whilst blue light blocking diminishes the frequency of light commonly emitted from digital screens; known as HEV (high energy visible) light.

In addition to anti-glare and anti-scratch coating, blue light blocking can also be added.

For more information, please contact our partner lens lab.


Close side view of man in dark room wearing glasses looking at computer screen

Do anti-glare glasses really work?

Anti-glare glasses work in several ways. By reducing surface reflections, onlookers can see your eyes more easily improving eye-contact. Anti-glare also lets more light pass through your lenses, thus improving optical clarity, definition and overall performance.

Anti-glare vs uncoated lenses

  • Uncoated lenses reflect approximately 10% of light.
  • Anti-glare reflects as little as 0.5% of light

The less light that reflects off your lenses, the easier you can see. This is why uncoated lenses are cheaper and less effective compared to anti-glare equivalents.

Anti-glare takes more time, energy and processes to apply to ophthalmic lenses. But the results provide more premium lenses with greater visual performance.


Close view of a woman's blue eyes

What are the benefits of anti-glare?

Anti-glare lens coating often contains hydrophobic and oleophobic properties which repel water and natural oil from your skin. Not only does anti-glare improve visual performance, but it makes your lenses easier to maintain.

Key benefits of AG lenses include:

  • Easier to clean
  • Ideal for high-index lenses (strong prescriptions)
  • Ideal for polycarbonate, Trivex or glass lenses
  • Improved vision whilst driving at night
  • Improved clarity when using digital screens
  • Less distracting reflections across your lenses
  • Better eye-contact with colleagues, friends and family
  • You look better in photos, video and social media
  • Reduced visual fatigue from reflections
  • Often comes with anti-scratch coatings
  • Looks better quality


What are the disadvantages of anti-glare glasses?

Due to their reduced reflections, anti-glare glasses have a habit of highlighting any scratches dirt, oil or grease. Anti-glare glasses are also more costly. Because of this, take extra care of your glasses and clean them more frequently to maintain their cleanliness and performance.

Key disadvantages of AG lenses include:

  • More frequent cleaning
  • Emphasised lens scratches
  • Not ideal for children’s glasses
  • Dirt, oil and grease is more evident
  • Greater care must be taken
  • More expensive


Young male wearing tortoise anti glare glasses

Do I need anti-glare on my glasses?

Anti-glare isn’t mandatory, but it vastly improves the performance, experience and aesthetics of your glasses. By reducing lens surface reflections, you can see more clearly and naturally, especially if you require high index (thinned) lenses. Aesthetically, people will also see your eyes more clearly.


Do any of these descriptions sound like you?

If you take pride in your appearance, regularly cleaning your lenses keeps them in good condition and prevents deterioration. With lukewarm water and a microfibre lens cloth, anti-glare coatings make it easier to wipe your lenses clean of any dirt, grime or dust. Better still, this coating makes your glasses look more premium thanks to their purple and green hues.

If you have a strong prescription, you probably require high index lenses. However, these thinner flatter lenses have a habit of creating more reflections. Therefore, investing in anti-reflective or anti-glare coating is a good way to combat this side effect.

If you regularly use a computer or drive at night anti-glare / anti-reflective coating can help alleviate eye strain by reducing distracting reflections. This helps you see more easily using less effort to read your computer screen or focus on the road ahead.

If you use ‘safety’ or mineral glass lenses anti-glare coating mitigates their flatter lens profile. By their nature, polycarbonate, Trivex or glass lenses are more susceptible to surface reflections therefore usually always require AG or AR.

If you take selfies or use social media, AG coating reduces the effects of strong lighting, camera flashes or screens reflecting off your eyeglasses. In photos or videos, people will see your eyes more clearly which improves your social interaction and overall aesthetic.

If you work long hours and wear your glasses full-time, AG coating gives the most natural visual experience and places less strain on your eyes. Compared to uncoated lenses, anti-glare coating lets you see more clearly with minimal visual fatigue.


Is anti-glare worth it?

On average, anti-glare lenses cost 50% more than uncoated equivalents. Opticians charge more for anti-glare as they’re more expensive to manufacture. They do however improve the performance and clarity of your lenses by increasing light transmission.

Additionally, anti-glare often comes with an anti-scratch layer which prevents damage to the surfaces of your lenses making them last longer.

In the UK, the average price difference can be as much as £30 between uncoated and AG single vision prescription lenses. See the price table below.

*Prices sourced from market research conducted by the Telegraph




Vision Express


Optical Express

Anti glare







Spectacles frame hanging from washing line on sunny day

How do you clean anti-glare lenses?

The best way to clean anti-glare lenses is by immersing your eyeglasses in warm water with a mild concentration of dishwashing detergent. This helps soften stubborn oil or dirt on your lenses which can be wiped clean and dry with a microfibre cloth.

Avoid using any abrasive materials to clean your glasses to prevent damaging the surfaces or your lenses or the surrounding rim. Never use your clothing or toilet paper to wipe your lenses clean.

How to clean your glasses.


How long does anti-glare coating last?

Treated with care, anti-glare coating can last between 2-5. If treated poorly, this coating can quickly wear, get scratched and deteriorate in their performance. To help, additional anti-scratch coatings improve the longevity of your lenses but always try to keep your lenses scratch free.


View of dark road at night with traffic lights and car head lamps

Is anti-glare coating good for night driving?

Anti-glare coating is good for night driving by reducing harsh reflections from car headlights, street lamps and traffic signals across the surface of your spectacle lenses.

Up to 50% more light is transmitted through the lens which enables greater vision during dusk or evening driving. Over time, this alleviates eye strain for improved visual comfort.

For more information about glasses for driving, check out this handy blog article.


Can anti-glare be added afterwards?

It’s possible for anti-glare coating to be applied to uncoated lenses after purchase, however this is an uncommon service in modern optics.

For quality and longevity, anti-glare is predominantly applied to lenses prior to purchase. This is because the lens surfaces are in virginal condition, free from scratches and dirt which can impede any post-purchase coatings.


Man wearing tortoise eyeglasses looking at a bright computer screen in dark room

Does anti-glare block blue light?

No, anti-glare doesn’t block blue light. Anti-glare is designed to increase the amount of visible light which can pass through your lenses. HEV light (high energy visible) isn’t the same frequency as visible light and will pass through any lens without a blue light protective coating.

The efficacy of blue light protection remains unproven. Our lens lab offers blue light protection as a secondary coating which you may wish to have added to your lenses.

You can learn more about blue light blocking glasses here.


How can I tell if my glasses have anti-glare?

A recognisable indicator of anti-glare coating are blue, purple or green hues on the front-side lens surfaces. If these colours are present, they likely have anti-glare coating. If your lenses reflect the same colour as the light-source, your lenses do not have this coating.


How is anti-glare applied?

Anti-glare is applied to uncoated lenses in multiple stages of thorough cleaning, rinsing, drying and vacuum deposition technology (VPD). Via electrons, the lenses are coated with thin microscopic layers of various metal oxides, each designed to block different frequencies of light.

Seen in the video above, specifically designed lens-racks secure the lenses in place throughout the numerous cleaning and VPD stages.

This entire process takes around 5 hours to complete, hence the additional cost of anti-glare and other similar additional lens coatings.


Which anti-reflective coating is the best?

Essilor’s range of antiglare lenses are deemed as some of the best on the market. This includes their Crizal Sapphire 360, Crizal Prevencia and Crizal Rock lenses. However, many unbranded anti-glare coatings from local opticians and eye clinics provide comparably sufficient performance.

For more information about anti-glare for your lenses, please contact our partner lens lab who can help you further.


Can I get anti-glare lenses?


For an accurate lens quote according to your prescription, our partner lens lab provides helpful advice and great customer service.

Hit the button below to find out more.



Hopefully you found this article useful.

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