Glass lenses are the best in clarity and are naturally scratch resistant. A lot of farmers like these lenses because it can take all the dirt and grit that comes along with the job. The lenses will be a little heavier, so if you are sensitive to weight on your face, you may want to look at another option. Dropping these lenses won’t break them but stepping on them, rolling over them with your car, or a not-so-helpful dog can. Unfortunately, I can no longer order tinted sunglass lenses in glass, to Dr. Hussey’s dismay. Polarized sunglasses are available but expensive.

Plastic lenses are the next best as far as clarity goes. With a scratch-resistant coating, you can get close to glass in durability. The coating can endure small surface scratches but will not hold up to gouges. Nothing will stop that. Plastic is lighter than glass in weight, so if you don’t like to feel your glasses on your face, these may be the lenses for you. Plastic is a really good middle-of-the-road option. You get a little bit of everything. This is also your best and cheapest option for tinted sunglasses. Polarized is also available but also expensive.

Polycarbonate is a thin plastic lens. If your job requires prescription safety glasses than polycarbonate would be used for that. Benefits to polycarbonate: lightweight and the least likely to break. Polycarbonate is the worst for clarity, though, as it can cause some distortions on the sides of your lenses and is not as clear to see through as glass and standard plastic. It is also the most likely to scratch. Hard to break but easy to scratch. Sunglass options? Only polarized. Still expensive.

Trivex is another thin plastic option. You get all of the benefits of polycarbonate lenses but with better clarity. This is also a good option for tinted sunglasses (again, polarized=$$$).

Dr. Hussey’s pick? Glass. Always. Polycarbonate? Only if you have to. Plastic and Trivex? Those will work, too.

Not sure what lenses would be best for you? Stick with plastic, and you will get a little bit of everything. Decent clarity, hard to destroy, and light on your face.

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