Is Anti-Glare Worth the Cost? Is Anti-Reflective Coating Worth the Cost?

Is Anti-Glare Worth the Cost?

A patient on Healthtap asked a great question:


Is anti-glare worth the cost of glasses?
My answer:
Depending on your symptoms and occupation, studies have shown a subjective preference for anti reflective coated lenses/anti glare glasses when used by patients engaged in a visually demanding occupations. See below for more information. 
Most studies have shown the brain to prefer anti-reflective coating if one is at the computer a great deal or driving. If you are mostly at home and do not go out, then it may not be worth it. 

 1999 Feb;70(2):103-9.

Comparison between anti-reflection-coated and uncoated spectacle lenses for presbyopic highway patrol troopers.



The use of anti-reflection coatings (AR) for spectacle lenses is steadily increasing. These ultra-thin coatings reduce reflections in lenses, increasing light transmittance about 8% (from 91% to 99%). Patient reports of crisper detail and brighter environment indicate that this perceived increase in visual function would probably be of benefit to many, including highway patrolmen who must make daily judgments on the basis of fine visual detail.


Nineteen presbyopic Missouri State Highway Patrolmen (MSHP) participated in this crossover study. Subjects randomly wore Varilux Comfort progressive addition lenses in CR-39 that were uncoated or AR-coated. The AR coating was Crizal. Subjects wore each lens for 1 month, then compared the lenses directly for 1 week. Data were collected for lens scoring (both general and job specific) and lens preferences.


The AR-coated lens was found to be significantly better in most categories. Reduction in glare and reflections during the day, night, indoors, and in the patrol vehicle–as well as improvement in overall night vision–were highly significant. Eighty-nine percent of the subjects chose the Crizal-coated lenses as their overall preferred lens.


The results of this study appear to demonstrate a noticeable subjective preference for AR-coated lenses when used by a group engaged in a visually demanding occupation.
 2005 May-Jun;50(3):253-62.

Computer vision syndrome: a review.


As computers become part of our everyday life, more and more people are experiencing a variety of ocular symptoms related to computer use. These include eyestrain, tired eyes, irritation, redness, blurred vision, and double vision, collectively referred to as computer vision syndrome. This article describes both the characteristics and treatment modalities that are available at this time. Computer vision syndrome symptoms may be the cause of ocular (ocular-surface abnormalities or accommodative spasms) and/or extraocular (ergonomic) etiologies. However, the major contributor to computer vision syndrome symptoms by far appears to be dry eye. The visual effects of various display characteristics such as lighting, glare, display quality, refresh rates, and radiation are also discussed. Treatment requires a multidirectional approach combining ocular therapy with adjustment of the workstation. Proper lighting, antiglare filters, ergonomic positioning of computer monitor and regular work breaks may help improve visual comfort. Lubricating eye drops and special computer glasses help relieve ocular surface-related symptoms. More work needs to be done to specifically define the processes that cause computer vision syndrome and to develop and improve effective treatments that successfully address these causes.
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