We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Do I Need Anti-Reflective Coating on my Glasses?

By Shannon Kietzman
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

An anti-reflective coating on your glasses serves many purposes, but it does have some drawbacks. The decision whether or not to use it on your glasses is a highly personal one that should be made after weighing the pros and the cons.

For many people, an anti-reflective coating can help when driving at night. Often, individuals who wear glasses or contacts experience a halo effect around headlights and streetlights when driving in the dark. The coating eliminates this effect and can make night driving less of a distraction.

An anti-reflective coating on your glasses can also be beneficial if you spend a great deal of time on the computer. Working on a computer for an extended period of time can lead to eye strain, as your eye muscles struggle to view specific areas of the monitor and battle the glare. Typical symptoms of eyestrain while working on the computer include blurry vision, dry eyes, and irritation. A coating that reduces reflection can decrease eyestrain and make it possible to work on the computer for longer periods of time without difficulty.

Eyestrain can also happen to people who do not work on computers on a regular basis. Spending a great deal of time in a dimly lit room, for example, can lead to eyestrain. If you experience eyestrain, no matter the reason, an anti-reflective coating on your glasses may be able to help.

Anti-reflective coating on glasses also improves your appearance, particularly when taking photographs while wearing your glasses. With glasses that do not have this coating, outside images tend to be reflected by the glasses and block out the wearer’s eyes. With the coating, your eyes are more easily seen.

On the downside, an anti-reflective coating tends to pick up fingerprints and dirt more easily than glasses without it. This results in the need to clean your glasses more often, which can be difficult if you do not have the proper cleaning tools on hand.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By anon961489 — On Jul 17, 2014

I cannot clean my anti-reflective glasses. They are always fuzzy. Yes I have tried that and it didn't work. They are fuzzy, smeared, and now scratched. I will put them on a rope and only wear them when I have to. I hate them and they have put me through hell! The shop has done its best for me, but really haven't helped my problems. Are they genuine or is there more to these glasses than they are telling?

By anon934343 — On Feb 20, 2014

Which glasses are better -- an anti-reflective coating or a day and night coating? Please help me with this topic. I've used day and night glasses for five years and work on a computer about seven to nine hours a day, so which ones should I use?

By anon344299 — On Aug 07, 2013

Also in response to comment 30 - I purchased new frames and lenses from Lenscrafters with AR coating and have been experiencing dry eye and eyelid swelling ever since. I'm still within the 90 day window, so I'm considering going back to have them put normal lenses in to see if it helps. It's just very strange! I wouldn't think the coating could have such an effect. Anyone else care to weigh in?

By anon338736 — On Jun 17, 2013

The only thing that really bothers me is that the optometrist should be up front about the pros and cons about the coatings. I never would have bothered with the coatings if I had known about the haze that develops on the glasses. Now I am going back to the optometrist and have a little talk with them and see what they can do about it.

By anon285488 — On Aug 15, 2012

When you purchase AR coating on your eyeglasses, most of the time, it is not just AR. Unless you purchase from someone who is only interested in stealing your money. There is usually a hard coat, whether it is a dip coat or manufacturer front coat and AR Lab backside spin coat. There may (at an extra cost) also be a top coat, which is a non-stick type of coat that will reduce the adherence of dirt and fingerprints which reduces the need for cleaning and the scratches that result. A Hydrophobic top coat is usually a standard-no extra charge top coat. Other top coats are Advantage, Teflon, etc.

I have developed a top coat that will outperform any top coat on the market today. All testing was performed in a lab environment.

Test this: three-plus days underwater in the Atlantic Ocean; three-plus days -5 degrees C; three-plus days 60 degrees C.

The eye glasses will survive. Will you?

By anon278058 — On Jul 03, 2012

People should be aware that most warranties for lenses are for two years only.

By anon277686 — On Jul 01, 2012

I have had AR coatings on my glasses for almost 10 years now, and I've gotten it from various places - Costco and three different private optometrists, and never had a problem with it scratching or peeling, ever.

I've had one pair that I wore constantly for about two years and then intermittently for three years after that. The last two I've gotten were worn for two years each until I had to get a new prescription. I have to get the AR coating because without it, I end up seeing double and triple of any fluorescent light bulb that I see -- very annoying!

I do not know if I have to clean them more often than I would without the coating, since the last time I didn't have a coating, I was about 11 and I didn't have to wear them all the time anyway, so I would clean them for fun every time I had to put them on.

By anon276517 — On Jun 24, 2012

I have been wearing glasses for 50 years, and AR for just the last five or so. I can't say that I see any advantage in AR as far as clarity and less eyestrain. I do see an increased frequency in buying new glasses, as the coating wears off.

I've actually tried polishing the coating off a pair of lenses because they were becoming so cloudy. I reluctantly bought a new pair from Costco, and asked for no AR coating, and they told me they aren't available without, unless you want glass lenses. I have been treating these new lenses with utmost care, but still after just a few weeks have noticed a couple spots of missing coating. I wonder if it's all a plot to make us buy glasses twice as often.

By anon247706 — On Feb 14, 2012

I would like to correct the statement about AR lenses being prone to scratching. Yes, the original coating done several years ago can scratch rather easily. However, newer lenses are protected with a hydrophobic coating that resists dirt and oils and therefore when cleaning, they do not adhere to the lens to scratch it. So they are scratch resistant. Also, when they do scratch, you see the scratches more because there is no reflection bouncing off the lenses to distract the eye.

AR lenses are excellent in reducing headaches, dry eye, irritation, and fatigue. Not to mention people can see your eyes. Your vision will be increased up to two lines on the eye chart, and make your reaction time much better.

By anon243723 — On Jan 29, 2012

I've gone with the Crizal for the first time and I'm very impressed. Normally, I have to clean my glasses at least twice a day, but with the Crizal, I can easily go two or three days. Also, the glare reduction is great, especially for night and city driving.

Some stores will add the coating for free (Walmart and Costco) while others charge as much as $150.00 for it (Sears). Since Costco had the cheapest lenses and threw in the Crizal, and gave me a two year warranty against scratches, I went with them and so far, I could not be happier.

By anon241845 — On Jan 20, 2012

Are high definition High Density plastic (not the crapola safety glass)lenses with A/R and anti-scratch coatings worth it? Not on your life - perhaps, (if) they were made of glass and not this new, totally crappy, smudged all the time plastic crap of a new "better" material. I have had glass for over 35 years and have had them A/R coated since the inception of A/R. I loved them!

I was told and convinced that the new improved plastic ones are so much better now than glass. Not even close. They stink (you don’t want to hear what I really think). The only thing missing is Billy Mayes and that totally cool "Made In china" insignia to make me hate them more!

By anon210002 — On Aug 29, 2011

AR coating lenses stink big time. With just three weeks of use, the coating peeled. I got a replacement at a fee, and three weeks, the later same thing happens. Down with ARC.

By anon198063 — On Jul 18, 2011

Perhaps you are allergic to the nickel or metals in your frames?

By anon197662 — On Jul 17, 2011

Responding to #30: I have had extremely dry eyes and red, dry eyelids ever since I got the AR coating on my glasses -- about six months ago now. I've been to two optometrists, an ophthalmologist and an allergist and no one can pinpoint what's wrong with me. I have been wondering if this coating has anything to do with it. Can anyone help?

By anon187376 — On Jun 17, 2011

I'm an optical assistant at a reputable worldwide firm. I’d just like to share some information which I hope helps, since 97 percent of lenses dispensed in Japan are AR coated.

Normal plastic lenses without AR allow approx. 92-7 percent of light to pass through, the rest of which is being scattered around the lens which is why the lens looks milky whitish in the light (glare).

Lenses with AR allow about 99 percent of light to pass through the lens. Although this doesn't sound like much more, the difference is quite noticeable (cosmetically especially; the lens looks near invisible). When talking about light, I mean artificial light, e.g., computer, light bulbs etc. Polaroid lenses help with glare from natural sunlight, when driving in the day, fishing and skiing etc.

In my opinion, the benefits (cosmetics, better clarity of vision (especially when night-driving and under powerful lights), the lower chance of headaches, dry eye and eye strain to occur, due to light scatter, especially at the computer or reading in dimly lit areas where less light makes up the image resulting in harder work for the eye/brain) of AR far outweigh the negatives (showing up dirt due to lens being clearer, more cleaning, and the possibility of damage to the AR coating through heat exposure – car dashboard etc), some hairspray sticking to it and abrasive materials (tissues and dirt particles, etc.) Because the AR is usually applied after the scratch resistant treatment it, is still easily damaged due to it being quite thin.

The quality of AR coatings do vary and so does the cost. Crizal lenses (made by Essilor) are a higher quality of AR (smudge/dust/water-resistant -- not immune), but this is reflected in the price. However, it is always wise to get scratch-resistant lenses whether or not you opt for the AR. AR should be optional because it can be quite expensive. Also, your prescription can affect glare. Glass lenses are very scratch resistant, and AR will increase clarity of vision more so, although they do weigh more and are dangerous if smashed. Hope this helps.

By anon182800 — On Jun 03, 2011

Eye glass coatings suck. Period. I work outside and I don't have the luxury of special wipes and soap and water. I will never use coatings again. My glasses are only a year old and I can barely see out of them.

By anon163500 — On Mar 28, 2011

I've used Crizal Alize coating and have found it superb. I have quite oily skin and my glasses get smudged quite often. However it cleans up instantly, and no problems with scratching either, so far.

By anon158516 — On Mar 07, 2011

Soap and water to clean any A/R lens is all one needs.

Rinse your glasses under warm tap water. Use a drop of dish detergent or shampoo and using your fingers, gently wash your glasses. Rinse and gently wipe dry with a clean cotton towel. Optician, 35 years

By anon156350 — On Feb 26, 2011

In response to #30 about eye infection/ irritation from ar coatings. I too have the same problem. It is almost as if the coatings have a radiation quality and the skin around my eyes feels itchy and painful. The less I wear them the better. I don't have any idea what is causing this.

By anon153511 — On Feb 17, 2011

I'm not a salesperson for any AR company, but I feel I have to post my experience with one of the brands.

Crizal is the brand I request on my lens as they tend not to scratch or delaminate as easily as the cheaper, no-name AR stuff I've had pushed on me by lesser opto offices.

I discovered the brand years ago quite by accident when my then new local optometrist told me to try it when I showed him my scratched up previous lenses. By comparison, the Crizal stuff can actually be cleaned with a T shirt while incurring little/no damage. Not recommended, but in a pinch it works. I've even cleaned it with a sweaty, dirty, cycling jersey before without issue.

I recently tried to use Zenni's AR on a pair of frames and those were awfully fragile coatings. Apparently, whatever Crizal is using hasn't trickled down to the lower price ranges which is sucky as Crizal is spendy.

I've noticed no difference in smudge resistance versus other AR coatings.

Basically if the optometrist doesn't know or can't get Crizal, I deselect AR from them or walk away. Hope that helps.

By anon138814 — On Jan 02, 2011

I've worn glasses forever and for the first time have gone to lens crafters, and added the AR coating. Since then I've had serious problems with my eyes, i.e., infection every week now for four months. Has anyone out there ever gone through this?

By anon132412 — On Dec 06, 2010

I too have anti-reflective coating that is always smeared, badly scratched (and the only thing I ever use to clean them is the lens cleaner the ophthalmologist sells, which is a "proprietary blend of alcohols", and their microfiber cloth).

I've have anti-reflective coatings in the past that weren't this bad, but the "new, improved" coating is awful. Worst glasses I've ever owned. I could use any cleaning suggestions. Eye doctor has been no help.

By anon123014 — On Oct 30, 2010

To clean lenses with anti reflective coating it is always better that you rinse it with water and wash gently with a liquid soap and then rise it again. Pat it dry and then clean it with the cleaning cloth.

By anon117855 — On Oct 12, 2010

The place I go to, Forsight Vision, automatically adds an anti-reflective coating, (covered with a scratch-resistant coating), onto your glasses. The scratch-resistant coating gets rid of all the cons normally associated with AR coatings. (Smudges, scratches, e.t.c.)

By anon112533 — On Sep 20, 2010

I purchased progressive, hi index with AR from Lenscrafters. They sold me a bottle of cleaner which includes "isopropanol" a form of alcohol. I read somewhere "don't ever use alcohol since it dissolves AR coatings". Huh? What is the answer to this dilemma; use the cleaner or soap and water?

By anon111080 — On Sep 14, 2010

I have an AR coating from a reputable optometrist office and I have never, ever gotten them clean, using all suggested products and cloths. They attract lint, spots, and are always smudged and smeared, even if I clean them several times. I could use some helpful suggestions! Thank you!

By anon108195 — On Sep 01, 2010

150 dollars for AR coating? Are you interested in buying some swamp land in Fla.? lol

By anon103977 — On Aug 14, 2010

Do anti scratch coatings work with anti reflective coatings or do they kill the benefits of anti reflective coatings?

By anon93716 — On Jul 05, 2010

i usually use my computer for hours and these days I'm feeling a severe headache when i concentrate on the computer screen during studying for more than one hour. The doctor checked my eyesight and told that i don't have sight and prescribed me anti-reflecting glasses. The question i want to ask is, "Does using anti reflecting glasses every day increase your eye sight??"

By anon91849 — On Jun 24, 2010

I should imagine it would depend on the opticians involved as to if they offer AR as a option. I suggest you get AR coating and tough-coat for the lenses. I have recently been prescribed reading glasses in addition to my distance glasses and unfortunately I omitted AR when I ordered them, for me a big mistake; the difference is quite dramatic.

I have no idea whether the light transference is greater or not, but I can tell you that I find the reflection in my new glasses is really annoying. So much so, that I'm probably going to have a reglaze job done on them and be a little more attentive when I fill in the order form.

By anon85279 — On May 19, 2010

Do premium AR coatings on good quality plastic glasses "increase" light transmission to the eye? My OD claims they do but I struggle to see how.

By anon79171 — On Apr 21, 2010

worth having. cosmetic appearance is much better. very good for night driving.

By anon67198 — On Feb 23, 2010

This may sound like a strange question, but I am wondering about the safety of wearing lenses with AR coating long-term.

I notice that these coatings are often made by companies/brands like Scotchguard and Teflon, and I have read about concerns regarding the safety of chemicals used in some of the other coatings that such companies make (i.e. non-stick for cooking and stain-repelling fabric/carpet treatments). (I am not a chemist, but I have read about concerns specifically relating to "perfluorochemicals").

Are AR coatings made of ingredients similar to the non-stick/anti-stain coating chemicals? I have sunglasses with this on the back of the lenses, and I notice that my eye lashes sometimes make streak marks in it, so at least sometimes they actually make contact with it.

I am trying to decide whether I think the stuff is safe before purchasing new "regular" eyeglasses. Any information or suggested references would be appreciated.

By anon65470 — On Feb 13, 2010

I spent 150.00 bucks on my coating. It's the Purecoat by zeiss. (or so I was told) And it works really good. I would recommend A/R lenses to other people. It costs more, but you're not supposed to cheap out on your eyes. Unless you're a cheapskate.

By anon64854 — On Feb 09, 2010

OK so i am getting a new pair of glasses and i don't drive but i am interested in anti-reflective because we all know plastic lenses scratch easier then glass and they don't recommend getting glass now. should i put out $80 for this or not?

By anon58359 — On Jan 01, 2010

Can you put a ar coating on a glass lens? Do you need it on a glass lens? Thanks

By anon52698 — On Nov 16, 2009

It depends where you get your eyeglasses...At Sam's, they do include it in your price and do not ask you if you want it. They just add it in the price and give it to you. But not all eye care places do that. Also, it totally matters where you get them from whether or not your antireflective coating sucks.

the cheaper brands will scratch and not reduce the glare as much.

If you go to an expensive place and ask for a premium AR, it will not scratch near as easy. basically with AR, for sure, you get what you pay for.

By anon49637 — On Oct 21, 2009

anti-reflective coatings are on the very surface and approx one quarter of the wavelength you're trying to absorb thick. in other words, your coating is thin, weak and extremely hard to clean from a physical standpoint. If you want your AR coating to last, do what i do with my AR lenses which are +10k usd each: don't clean them, apply lens covers, and never ever touch them.

By anon49022 — On Oct 16, 2009

I'm a third generation optician with over 26 years' experience. If someone tries to sell you an AR coating that they claim only has to be cleaned once a day, and does not smudge, move along, you're being lied to. There is a difference in the quality of AR coatings, but there is no such thing as oil resistant, smudge-free AR coating.

By anon48276 — On Oct 11, 2009

I have had about four pairs of glasses with anti-reflective coating and actually one traditional glass pair I bought in Europe 5 years ago. My recent pair of anti-reflective glasses are less than a year old and are so scratched that I was forced to put my old "real glass" glasses back on and could not believe how clear they were, basically no scratches, and they are five years old. Glass is less than desirable, due to it's weight and shatter dangers, but I'm ready for a new technology with eyewear, because anti-reflective glasses just don't work for me. Of course, I should handle them with more care, I'm told, but it's not like I'm jumping around the Sahara, wiping sand off every 10 mins. I'm just a teacher who needs to wipe smudges without tracking down my special spray and cloth every time. My wish: light, anti-reflective lenses that never scratch. Otherwise, back to glass if anyone will still sell it to me.

By anon46577 — On Sep 27, 2009

i'm a first time glasses wearer. is it the antireflective lens that is making my lenses very subtly tinted kind of yellowish? i find that unless I'm in very bright light, this (barely) tint still makes my pupils dilate and then i pick up the blurred edges of my progressive lenses. i already had them redo them without the transition for this reason. i mean, shouldn't glasses be 100 percent clear, like my cheap reading glasses are? Thank you so much.

By anon40726 — On Aug 10, 2009

I have anti-reflective coating, but I still have glare when pictures of me are taken wearing glasses. Is that supposed to happen with AR coating?

By anon38442 — On Jul 26, 2009

Will an AR coating help reduce my sensitivity to fluorescent light?

By anon38258 — On Jul 24, 2009

I am a licensed optician, and I have a lot of experence with this subject. my practice only uses the best anti reflective, whitch means that not all A.R. are made the same. the A.R. you receive at a discount chain will smudge and scatch very easly, whereas a premium A.R. only has to be cleaned one time a day, does not smudge, and is harder to scrath.

By anon33897 — On Jun 13, 2009

Whether you get anti-reflective coating on your glasses should be a choice you make? Many less than honest vision care providers automatically include it on your purchase of glasses without giving you the opportunity to make that choice. As it is usually a fairly expensive add-on to your lenses, you should get to determine whether or not it is in your budget. All that being said, I have managed an optical business for 13 years, and we always explained what it is, what it does, and what it costs. Most people who are in the industry, would not think of getting a pair of glasses without an AR coating. The benefits by far outweigh the negative (more cleaning required, easier to scratch).

By anon29344 — On Mar 31, 2009

I'd just like to point out something on the note that the coatings get dirtier easier. From what I've seen it's not that they get any dirtier - it's that the lenses are simply clearer and dirt shows up more - semantics really, but just an observation.

By anon19573 — On Oct 15, 2008

Today's eyecare providers offer antireflective coated lenses that are superior in scratch resistance to uncoated lenses, and are very resistant to smudges, oils, and dust.

By ladygry05 — On May 05, 2008

How exactly do you clean an anti-reflective coating on eyeglasses?

By anon7907 — On Feb 05, 2008

Do you normally get a choice for this? Is it something everybody gets no matter what or is it an option when you order glasses?

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.