Glasses: What Are Digital Lenses?

Remember how the advent of HDTV made previously grainy TV viewing a now-strikingly clear experience? Much like how HDTV revolutionized TV, this optical technology is poised to do the same thing, forever changing the way we see. Called digital—or “free-form”—lenses, these cutting-edge lenses are like high-definition for your eyeglasses, making everything you see seem exponentially sharper, clearer, and more vivid.

What are digital lenses?

"Digital lenses are the new standard for your eyeglasses,” explains Matthew Alpert, O.D., a VSP provider. 

While most traditional lenses are made using a dated, abrasive grinding process, digital lenses are manufactured using precise laser technology. The result? Lenses that are nearly six times clearer than traditional ones, with enhanced nighttime vision and peripheral vision.

Furthermore, unlike traditional lenses, digital lenses also have the added benefit of being individually tailored to suit the patient’s unique vision needs. “Your eye doctor will take precise measurements to tailor a lens not only to your unique prescription, but also to where your frame sits on your face and how far apart your eyes are,” Alpert explains. “Everyone’s eyes are different, and digital lenses use precise measurements to give you the best, most customized vision possible.”

To do this, the patient’s eyes are digitally scanned by specialized, automated equipment, which collects a number of data points on each eye, mapping minute variations in the shape and surface of the eye. The resulting prescription is written to the nearest 1/100th of a diopter, or the amount of correction needed for normal vision. In comparison, traditional lenses are rounded to the nearest one-quarter diopter.

Who is a good candidate for digital lenses?

Virtually anybody is a good candidate for digital lenses, Alpert says, from those with severely impaired vision to those who don’t need a prescription.
Those who need single-vision lenses can experience impeccable clarity and the most precise prescription possible with digital lenses. Progressive digital lenses—for those who need glasses to help them see up close, far away and in between—offer clear vision at any distance,” he says.

Can digital lenses help with blue light exposure?

Yes, there are also special, non-prescription digital lenses designed to reduce exposure to blue light, a high-energy wavelength of light emitted from fluorescent lights as well as from the screens of computers, TVs, tablets, and smart phones. Excessive exposure to blue light may contribute to digital eye strain.

Are Digital Eyeglass Lenses Worth It?

Given all of the benefits of digital lenses, will traditional eyewear soon become a thing of the past? Alpert suspects that may be. He anticipates a gradual shift away from traditional lenses as more and more individuals gravitate toward digital alternatives. “The old technology is still very common but will become less so over time as this new standard becomes more commonplace,” he explains.

If you have questions about digital lenses, schedule an eye exam with your eye doctor. If you don’t have vision insurance, learn more about VSP vision insurance today and save on your next eye exam.

Information received through VSP Vision Care's social media channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 

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