What is AR coating and what does it do? AR stands for anti-reflective. AR is a treatment for eyeglass lenses that reduces surface glare almost to zero, and allows more light to pass through your lenses. It is the same treatment that is on all camera lenses, microscopes, telescopes, and any other set of lenses used when seeing a clear image is considered to be important. Just having it on your eyeglass lenses gives you a benefit of 8 to 16 percent sharper vision.
How It Works
So how does it work? It all comes down to the problem of surface reflections. To see why we have look at both the front and the back surface of a lens without AR. Light reflecting off the front surface causes light reduction and means that less direct light is getting to your eyes. This means that you are seeing less of the image you are looking at. Any time you are looking at something you are actually seeing the light reflecting off of that object. It follows then that if we can get more light to pass through your lenses we will deliver sharper optics and higher visual clarity to your eyes. Now we need to look at the back surface of the lens. Back surface reflections cause you to see things that you really do not want to see unless you are looking in a mirror. Things like your eye, your eyelashes, and the skin around your eyes. Reflections and glare combined with light reduction cause eye fatigue, eye strain, and reduced visual acuity. Adding AR to your lenses prevents all of those bad things and delivers sharper vision.
Seeing Better At Night
What about night vision? If you thought light reduction was bad during the day just wait until you try it out at night. At night you need as much light as you can get. Lenses without AR cause poor night vision and star bursts around lights. AR coating improves night vision significantly and eliminates those pesky star bursts and ghost images around lights. This effect is especially noticeable while driving at night looking at oncoming headlights.
What does AR on my lenses look like to other people? A really annoying thing about lens glare is that when people are looking at you they can not see your eyes as easily. Since good eye contact is an important part of speaking and building trust, the glare on your lenses is preventing you from effectively communicating. AR fixes all of that by making your lenses virtually invisible allowing people to see your eyes more clearly. It should be clear by now that I am a proponent of AR on spectacle lenses. It will help you look better and see more clearly. You have been reading the first part in a series on AR. The next part in the series is called How to Care For Lenses With AR.