Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 9.56.15 AMIt is in the nature of all children to run, jump, climb and throw things and that means accidents are sometimes unavoidable. If your child wears eyeglasses and they break because she collided with someone during a game of soccer or got hit in the face with a basketball, you could be looking at serious injury to your child’s face and/or eyes, as well as the expense of replacing the glasses.

That’s why shatter-proof lenses are recommended for children more often than any other type of lens.

Polycarbonate Lenses are Impact-Resistant

Regular plastic or glass lenses shatter when they are hit by a projectile like a baseball. Polycarbonate lenses are far more shatter-resistant than regular plastic or glass. They can absorb some of the impact of a hard blow and, in many cases, they won’t break.

Sports-Rated Frames

There’s not much sense in having impact-resistant lenses if the frames break. Regular frames aren’t designed to withstand an impact of any kind. Even dropping them on the floor can cause small cracks or breakage. If your child is involved in any kind of organized sport, make sure to buy sports-rated frames to put the polycarbonate lenses in.

Polycarbonate Drawbacks

  • One of the few drawbacks of polycarbonate lenses is that, optically, they are not as good as high index or regular plastic lenses. That means the light doesn’t diffuse through them quickly. Most people say they don’t notice the difference but your child may notice this difference if he goes from a high index plastic to a polycarbonate lens.
  • People with higher power prescriptions sometimes have trouble seeing out of the edges of the lenses, that is, the clear field of vision is not as wide as it is with glass or regular plastic lenses. Polycarbonate lenses bend light to a greater degree than glass or regular plastic lenses of equal thickness. If your child previously wore glass or regular plastic lenses, they may need an adjustment period to adapt to polycarbonate lenses.
  • Certain lens coatings may reduce the impact effectiveness of polycarbonate and some lens tints may be difficult or impossible to apply. A scratch-resistant coating is essential for polycarbonate lenses because they are more prone to scratching than other lens materials.
  • Polycarbonate lenses are more expensive because they require more time to make.

Safest for Children

Polycarbonate lenses are widely regarded as the safest lenses for children. They offer 10 times the impact resistance of most plastic lenses and have the added advantage of being thinner and lighter. They also feature UV and scratch-resistant qualities. Polycarbonate lenses can be used for both prescription and non-prescription lenses, in sunglasses and in fashion eyewear.