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  • Writer's pictureCarina Lee

Optical Lenses for Children

Updated: Oct 19, 2022

Dr. Carina Lee, November 30, 2022

Which optical lenses are most suitable for kids?

You might not even be aware of the many lens possibilities if you are buying new eyeglasses for your child.

While your optometrist can advise you and suggest a particular kind of lens for your child's unique needs, it is a good idea to become familiar with the various lens materials.

The most popular children's lenses are described in the section below. High-index lenses may also be advised if your child has a high optical prescription.


The most widely used material for children's eyewear, including sunglasses, sports goggles, and eyeglasses, is polycarbonate.

These lenses will shield your child's eyes as they participate in various physical activities and can endure the active play that kids engage in on a regular basis.

The strongest plastic lens material currently on the market, polycarbonate is renowned for its great impact resistance, sturdiness, and integrated UV protection, however it is not fully unbreakable.

With a refractive index of 1.59, polycarbonate lenses are thinner and lighter than conventional plastic (CR-39) lenses, making them a suitable option for kids.

The polycarbonate lenses may not offer the clearest vision, especially when compared to other plastic lenses, despite the fact that they can be useful in a variety of ways.


Trivex lenses are comparable to polycarbonate lenses in that they also offer adequate protection against eye injuries and are impact resistant. These lenses are thinner, lighter, and more comfortable than typical plastic lenses.

Compared to polycarbonate lenses, trivex lenses offer less optical distortion and more clarity.

Trivex lenses have the disadvantage of not having as many lens designs as CR-39 and polycarbonate lenses, therefore if your child needs a bifocal or multifocal lens, trivex might not be the best option.

Columbia resin 39 (CR-39)

Although it is a little bit heavier than trivex lenses and polycarbonate, this kind of plastic is still lightweight and thin.

These lenses are easily capable of having strong, scratch-resistant coatings applied, which contributes to their protection and lengthens their lifespan. Similar to trivex lenses, CR-39 lenses offer finer optical clarity because they have somewhat less distortion than polycarbonate lenses.

It is normally advised to add a UV protection coating to CR-39 to ensure that your child's eyes are protected from the sun's UV rays because CR-39 doesn't inherently give UV protection like polycarbonate lenses do.

If your youngster engages in a lot of energetic play, bear in mind that CR-39 lenses are not as robust and scratch-resistant as polycarbonate or trivex lenses.

Transition lenses

Eyeglasses with transition lenses, also called photochromic lenses, automatically darken when exposed to sunlight but remain clear when used indoors. For kids, these lenses are fantastic because they may eliminate the need for sunglasses.

Which type of lens is right for your child?

You will be better prepared to discuss your child's new glasses with your optometrist or their staff now that you are aware of the options available.

The kind of lens you choose actually depends on your preferences because each type of lens has benefits and drawbacks.

Which lenses are most impact resistant?

It's common knowledge that kids damage their glasses. It's a terrible fact, especially when your wallet starts to take a hit from buying several pairs of glasses. If eyeglass lenses aren't properly cared for, they can become scratched and damaged, in addition to eyeglass frames breaking or bending out of shape. How do you choose which kind of lens is best for your child, then?

Polycarbonate vs CR39 vs Trivex

Choose a lens material that combines both safety and durability if your child is young and active, like polycarbonate or trivex plastic. Your worries about your child wearing their glasses to school, on the playground, or on the sports field will be lessened as a result.

Prescription sports goggles, which provide eye protection and clarity while playing, can also be beneficial for kids who participate in sports.

In this instance, CR-39 lenses might be suggested for interior use, such as at home or in a school, whereas their sports goggles can be worn outside, on a sporting field.

Depending on your child's specific needs, your eye doctor can recommend the best kind of lens for them.

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