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Why Are My Glasses Lenses so Thick?

Phoebe Jade

Written By:

Phoebe Jade

Updated: 23 May 2024 •  
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Have you ever put on your glasses and thought, “Why are these lenses so thick?” If that sounds familiar, then you’re not alone. However, this question has no simple answer, as several factors are involved.
 
Let’s examine the reasons behind prescription lens thicknesses and see how to choose the right lenses and frames.
 

What factors contribute to lens thickness?

Your prescription strength can affect your lens thickness, as can the material used, and the size of your frames.
 

1. Higher prescriptions can require thicker lenses

 
If you wear glasses with a strong prescription, chances are they have thicker and heavier lenses than those with a weaker prescription.
 
That’s because – if you’ve opted for regular index lenses – a thicker lens is required to bend the light to the amount that’s needed.
 
This bending is needed to correct high refractive errors effectively. We’ll explain more about a solution for this later.
 
woman wearing a pair of glasses with thick lenses

A higher prescription can mean thicker lenses.

 

2. Thickness also depends on the actual material used

 
The two most common materials used in spectacle lenses are glass and plastic. Lenses made of glass will almost always be thinner than their plastic counterparts.
 
However, they come with a pesky tradeoff: glass lenses tend to be heavier.
 

3. Your frame size and shape can also affect lens thickness

 
Lastly – larger frames usually require thicker lenses because the lenses occupy space to fit into the frame.
 
When frames are wider, the lenses become slightly thicker due to the additional volume needed to fit inside.
 
Also, rounded or oval frames are generally more suitable for thicker lenses.
 

How to choose the right lenses and frames

With so many options, picking the perfect eyewear can get overwhelming. However, you can get started by looking at these:
 

Type of lenses

 
Tip: Pay attention to lens index!
 
Single-vision, multifocal, and specialty lenses are the most common types.
 
Single-vision lenses are the go-to for most prescription glasses, as they’re designed to correct either astigmatism or near or far-sightedness.
 
Here’s how some lens types help adjust vision;
 

  • Multifocal lenses have more than one viewing area.
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  • Bifocal glasses lenses help you see distant and nearby objects.
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  • Trifocals have three viewing areas.
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  • Progressive glasses lenses have all the distances covered without visible lines.
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  • Specialty lenses offer the perfect vision solution for those with special requirements, lifestyle preferences, or hobbies. For example, Trivex lenses are ideal for those with an active lifestyle.

 
You might think, “Why are my glasses lenses so thick when I wear single-vision glasses?” That’s because of the lens index.
 
A low index number means a thicker lens. Also, if your prescription is high, your lenses will be thicker.
 
Even if you have a high prescription, you can still opt for thinner lenses by choosing high-index lenses rather than standard lenses.
 
Due to their unique material that bends light more effectively, high-index lenses provide the same level of vision correction with a slimmer profile.
 
woman holding a piece of regular index lens and high index lens

High-index lenses are a great option for those with strong prescriptions who want thinner lenses.

 
That also means your eyewear will also be more lightweight. Talk to your ophthalmologist about your options.
 

Type of frames

 
As frames get bigger, lenses become thicker exponentially – capitalizing on the side of the lens, which is naturally the thickest.
 
Going large with your frame will bring you thicker lenses, even if they’re the same prescriptions and indexes. Therefore, choose smaller frames so you won’t need thick lenses.
 
For example, Mouqy’s Mate frames are sleek and minimalistic. The small round black frame can downplay the thickness of the lenses, and these glasses can be a style statement.
 

 
Another pair you can fit with thick lenses is Mouqy’s Aura frames. Aside from their cute design, they’re also pretty lightweight
 

 
Get high-index lenses if you want more flexibility when picking out frames.
 
You won’t need to compromise comfort and style for clearer vision because the lenses can fit almost all frames.
 
Stylish and comfortable, Mouqy’s Aesthete frames are perfect for high-index lenses.
 

 

Other considerations for reducing lens thickness

Aside from the lens and frame types, you should consider these things to get thinner lenses:
 

1. Proper position and fit of lenses

 
That is key for ensuring you see clearly and have options when deciding what index lens to get.
 
To have glasses with correctly fitted lenses, your eye doctor may take these measurements:
 

  • Pupillary distance (PD)How far the centers of your pupils are to each other in millimeters. Manufacturers use PD to ensure the lenses are placed at the optical center (horizontally). Incorrect PD measurements can lead to blurred or distorted vision, eyestrain, and headaches.
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  • Optical center heightYour pupils’ vertical positioning in relation to the lenses of your glasses.
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  • Pantoscopic angleHow much the top of your frames angles away from your face compared to the bottom. Most glasses have some tilt.
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  • Vertex distanceThe distance between your cornea and the back surface of the eyeglass lens. It ensures lenses are tailored to fit each person, as a different distance from the eye can affect their power; moving them farther away makes them more plus (less minus). That explains why sliding glasses down our nose helps us read the small print on labels.
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  • Frame wrap (panoramic angle)How curved your glasses are, from the center to the edges.

 
illustration of pupillary distance on a woman face

PD is how far the centers of your pupils are to each other in millimeters.

 

2. Anti-reflective coatings can help lenses appear thinner

 
Thicker lenses can make your eyes look more prominent than usual. If you don’t want this effect, opt for an anti-reflective coating.
 
This coating helps to reduce blindness by bouncing off reflected light from the lens. It also helps less of the light to pass through it, making the lenses appear much thinner in comparison.
 
Additionally, an anti-reflective coating can prove beneficial to your visual clarity.
 
It increases contrast as more light can reach the lens without obstruction; this will help provide better vision and make your glasses appear much more flattering on your face.
 

3. Damaged lenses can look thicker

 
Taking care of your eyeglass lenses is essential to keep them looking clear. Always use both hands when removing your glasses from your face to reduce the risk of scratches.
 
Keep them away from dust and dirt by storing them in a protective case and cleaning them with a soft microfiber cloth rather than paper towels or rough fabrics.
 
Before placing your glasses on any surface – like a countertop, desk, or table – make sure they are debris-free. Otherwise, the abrasive particles can cause scratches.
 
Finally, avoid chemicals and solvents which can damage the lenses’ coating or discolor them.
 

How to cope with thick glasses lenses

“Seriously – Why are my glasses lenses so thick?”
 
If this question keeps bugging you, you’re not alone.
 
Whilst there are plenty of ways to slim down your lenses if you wish, finding the confidence to wear thicker lenses can sometimes mean simply finding the right frames and accessories that complement them.
 
Don’t forget that all face shapes and facial features are beautiful, so it’s essential to accept and embrace your personal style first!
 
Start by knowing what you want regarding lens size, frame shape, color, pattern, or material. Explore fashionable eyeglasses that flatter your best features while being comfortable at the same time.
 
Look into cool-toned colors such as blues, purple hues, black accents, or clear frames to pair with your lenses. Let the possibilities be endless when finding frames that make you feel amazing while wearing them.
 

 

Your choice of eyewear affects lens thickness

Remember that our choice of eyewear can have a significant impact on both our appearance and our health. We should strive to make informed decisions when selecting glasses that fit our lifestyle and health needs.
 
Understanding our options and speaking with a qualified eye doctor can help us find the perfect eyewear and ensure we are protecting our sight.

Phoebe Jade

Written by:

Phoebe Jade

Phoebe is a registered nurse, licensed teacher and writer who's passionate about creating content that educates and inspires.

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