As October has paraded in and kicked out summer, people are back to their fall sports routines and Eye Injury Prevention Month is making its’ annual round… which is the perfect timing to talk about *gasp* glass. I've heard Opticians in blogs, classes, articles, etc. take a stand against using glass lenses and I'd like to offer my own position. I have always been wildly fascinated by glass... the strength and fragility of the natural material... the optical quality!
I recognize that part of the training of being an Optician is to steer customers/patients away from the "old-fashioned" material, but I'm open to having the discussion about why a person really wants to wear glass lenses. In this part of the world, there are a good chunk of farmers who won't let go of the round, high-bridge, cable-temple, American Optical frame fitted with GLASS lenses. While some are just stubborn and don't want to change because the glass has never scratched (and well, maybe they're a little resistant to change in general), there are others who prefer the longevity and quality of a glass lens. Not that plastic is a lesser quality, but plastic as an "unnatural" material has a different rate of decay and does not hold up over time the way glass does. Slather on the extra hard coat to your polycarbonate/trivex/cr-39 lens and the toughness comes close, but not the clarity.
I'm not writing this to say that I'm about to start a revolution and get more people to wear glass lenses... obviously it's not a sensible idea for the masses given many factors including: its' density, the danger for breaking, it doesn't have natural UV protection, etc. (PLUS my prefer go-to material for the best combination of ABBE, weight, impact resistancy, thickness, etc. is trivex). My point is that glass is beautiful and it shouldn't be discarded as a lens of the past... it's like the founding father of lenses. I will have my prescription glass lenses at some point (once I find an appropriate frame to house the beauties)... and don't worry fellow Opticians, I'll make sure that I'm not wearing them during situations where they could get smashed into my eyes... like while driving... or while I'm in the mosh pit.