If you like the way the anti-reflective (AR) coating on your eyeglasses reduces glare, you can thank Mothra – or a real-life moth – for that.
That’s because moths’ eyes are covered with a special film that eliminates reflections. This is necessary because of their well-known attraction to flames.
No, not that kind of flame! This kind:
If moths’ eyes reflected light, it would alert predators to their presence. But moths’ eyes are coated with a super-thin film structured in a hexagonal pattern of bumps that are so tiny they are smaller than the wavelength of visible light. These bumps reduce reflections from flames or other light sources by matching the wavelength of visible light, which blocks the light’s reflections.
AR coatings on eyeglasses take their cue from the eyes of moths. They work in a similar way, using a super-thin layer of metal oxide to reduce reflection by matching a reflected wave of light with an equal and opposite “incident wave” (roughly oversimplified, an interfering wave), which causes the two waves to cancel each other out.
You don’t have to be a scientist, or even an accomplished graph reader, to see that the red wave of the reflection is equally matched by the black incident wave of the AR coating, which blocks the reflection on the lens as effectively as Jerry Kramer blocked Jethro Pugh in the Ice Bowl. (What? Ask a football fan or Google it.)
AR coatings are highly recommended for eyeglasses. They’re especially useful with high-index prescription lenses, because high-index lenses are thinner, lighter, and flatter than standard- and mid-index lenses, and therefore tend to reflect more light than lower index lenses do.
But all lenses, even non-prescription lenses, benefit from AR coating, especially sunglasses.
However, one of the most important uses of AR coating will not involve sunglasses, unless you’re this guy.
For most people, who, unlike Corey Hart, don’t wear their sunglasses at night, AR coating is a must-have for driving glasses, prescription or non-prescription sunglasses, or clear prescription lenses. AR coating is great for reducing glare from streetlights, stoplights, taillights, and oncoming headlights. It’s especially good at decreasing the “halo” effect.
Wait, not that halo effect – that one should only be increased! Multiplied, even, at every possible opportunity. Here is the halo effect you want to reduce:
AR coating has daytime and indoor uses, too. It’s great for people who spend a lot of time on the computer, since it reduces glare from the monitor, which can cause eyestrain.
AR coating performs a great cosmetic function, too. It greatly decreases the reflection on eyeglasses’ lenses from external indoor and outdoor light sources. With AR coating, people looking at you while you’re wearing glasses will see your eyes rather than what’s reflected on the lenses. This is an excellent feature to have, unless you’re acting in Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train.
If you haven’t seen that movie, check it out. It’s one of Hitchcock’s best.
In a minute we’re going to examine the three main types of AR coatings available for eyeglasses’ lenses: standard, hydrophobic, and oleophobic. They all work the same way, by blocking reflection and reducing glare with one or more layers of metal oxide that (remember the moth) allow more light to pass through the lens.
But first, let’s dispose of the most common misconception about AR coatings: that they tint the lens. This is not true. AR coatings are clear and colorless and invisible on the lens.
But there is a color-based way to tell if your lenses have AR coating. Sometimes people will think that, because reflections on the lenses are not entirely eliminated, their glasses don’t have AR coating, even though they ordered it.
To see if your eyeglasses have AR coating, hold the glasses parallel to the ground, with the temple arms (the stems that go behind your ear) up or down. Angle the glasses so you can see reflections on the lenses. If the reflections look green or purple, your lenses have AR coating.
Here’s why: The reflections will look green or purple, or both green and purple, because AR coating blocks waves that are in the green-to-purple wavelength of the spectrum of visible light. That’s why these colors are reflected on the lenses. If that’s not confusing enough, here’s a chart that will really have you scratching your head, unless you’re an optics geek:
Now that your brain has recovered (we hope), let’s look at those three main types of AR coatings: standard, hydrophobic, and oleophobic. Standard AR coating, which is $4.95 at Zenni Optical, and which can cost north of $100 at other optical retailers, does a great job of reducing reflections on eyeglasses lenses.
But there’s a big difference between standard AR coating and hydrophobic, which is $8.95 at Zenni, and oleophobic, which is $14.95 at Zenni. These AR coatings can cost as much as $200 at other optical retailers.
The hydrophobic AR coating is called that because although it blocks reflections the same way the standard AR coating does, it’s also water (hydro) resistant (phobic). It puts a slick surface on the lens that resists the buildup of water-based moisture, which is important to have when you’re watching a tearjerker like The Best Man Holiday for the 87th time.
The hydrophobic and oleophobic AR coatings make your eyeglasses’ lenses easier to clean than lenses with the standard AR coating. You can do this experiment yourself. If you have a pair of glasses with standard AR coating and a pair with hydrophobic or oleophobic AR coating, clean each pair with the cloth that comes with your Zenni glasses. It’s much easier to clean the hydrophobic or oleophobic pair than the standard pair, right? The cloth slides right across the surface of the hydrophobic- or oleophobic-coated lenses, while on the pair with the standard AR coating there’s a little drag on the lens.
Stop it! Behave. It’s not that kind of flame and not that kind of drag.
The oleophobic AR coating is called that because in addition to resisting water the way the hydrophobic AR coating does, it also resists oil and grease (that’s the “oleo” part, as in “oleomargarine,” which is what margarine used to be called).
The oleophobic AR coating has a slick surface on the lens that, like the hydrophobic AR coating, resists the buildup of water moisture on the lens and makes the lenses easier to clean than lenses with the standard AR coating.
But it also protects against smudging from fingerprints as well as facial oils. This is useful when you don’t want to use your superpowers to clean your glasses, which would give away your secret identity.
Zenni also offers special mirror-finish oleophobic AR coatings for sunglasses. These come in gold, silver, and blue, and each is $19.95. The back of the lens has the AR coating, and the front of the lens has the reflective mirror-finish coating. The gold mirror finish looks great with frames that are gold, red, brown, or tortoiseshell, such as frame A10102114.
The silver mirror finish looks great with any frame color or style, especially A10102412.
The blue mirror finish looks great with silver, black, gray, blue, or gold frames, such as 521814, and is especially good at reflecting harmful blue light.
Or check out this beauty in the blue mirror finish. The frame (A10161222) looks great, too.
Speaking of reflecting harmful blue light, soon we’ll be launching our newest AR coating, which is specially designed to block blue light. Keep checking the Zenni Blog – and website – for details!
Friday, March, 14 2014 by Matt Souza
St. Patrick’s Day started as a small holiday in Ireland back in the 1700s. It’s become something much more than that. “Everybody’s Irish on St. Patty’s” as the saying goes. If you don’t want to look out of place, consider a great set of green glasses from Zenni.
Irish immigrants brought St. Patrick’s Day to the United States. By the early 19th Century, it had grown into an important expression of community pride for Irish Americans, centered on the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Nearly 200 years later, those immigrants would hardly recognize it.
In fact, St. Patrick’s day is a much bigger, sillier, more widely accepted day of festivities in the United States than it is back in Ireland. However, most of the indicative foods and symbols of the hobby have been the same for hundreds of years.
Two of the most iconic symbols of the holiday that have stood the test of time are wearing green – like a stylish pair of thin-rimmed glasses – and pinching people who don’t wear green.
Many think that the color green actually supplanted blue as the representation of St. Patrick’s Day around the time the holiday migrated to the United States, perhaps to embrace one of the dominant colors on the Irish flag. It might have to do with the tradition of dying the Chicago river green for the day, which also began around that time for seemingly unknown reasons.
More interestingly, the practice of pinching those who don’t wear green possibly has much older roots. Supposedly, Leprechauns like to pinch people, but wearing green makes you invisible to them. So people began pinching on St. Patty’s to remind others about how to avoid these mythological creatures and perhaps also to have a bit of fun mimicking them.
Whatever St. Patrick’s Day means to you, whether it’s a day to think about your heritage, an opportunity for green EVERYTHING, or a chance to cut loose and have fun, you’ll be happier doing it with the right glasses. Strap on a pair of green lenses from Zenni and wonder how St. Patty’s Day looks so good.
Friday, March, 14 2014 by Dave Schreiner
We decided to take on that challenge and put together an outfit based around Zenni’s classic, tortoiseshell frame glasses, incorporating some other stylish but simple silhouettes (a trench and a simple ruffled dress) in neutral colors (dark blue and cream). To jazz things up, we added a striking gold cuff and a fabulous orange tote bag. This is a great transition outfit: Cream and blue are completely appropriate for late winter/early spring, while the splashes of orange and gold remind us that sunnier days are on their way.
We started with this classic pair of tortoiseshell frame glasses from Zenni. Tortoiseshell goes well with most hair and eye colors, is great with a whole range of outfit colors, plus it flatters most skin tones. The darker hues of tortoiseshell add depth to a look and tie in other darker detailing that you might have on your coat, shoes or belt. The lighter colors can also pick up brighter elements, like a pop of color or the metallic shine of jewelry.
With that in mind, we set about creating our look! Here’s the lowdown on each of the pieces:
Monday, March, 10 2014 by Lainie Petersen
It’s no secret. Most of us don’t really yearn to spring forward in the same way we love the extra hour of sleep from “falling back” (into our beds). The right glasses can help you put a positive spin on the seasonal silliness. It’s just a matter of figuring out the right range of glasses colors for your skin tone, eyes, and hair color.
Finding the right frames for you starts with identifying your skin’s hue. Skin tone (and hair and eyes) is either warm or cool. The best way to identify you skin’s hue is to take a clean piece of plain white paper out on a sunny day. Lay your hand on the paper, palm up, and examine the veins on the inside of your wrist. Clearly blue veins indicate a cool hue, while a greenish tint suggests your skin tone is warm.
Think of the pigment color spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The colors from red to yellow are warm, and from green to violet/purple are cool. Basically reds are warm and blues are cool. Yellowish-green straddles the divide, as does reddish-purple.
Your glasses color should compliment your skin tone. Warm skin, warm glasses color. But there’s a huge range within the right tone. Consider the tone of your hair and eye color to help you narrow down your options. From there it’s up to you and your tastes.
The darkness and depth of your skin tone also affects the best glasses color for you. For lighter skin, brighter or lighter shades of the same color might be better, while for deeper skin tones, you might opt for a deeper color. Think a lighter blue compared to a much deeper, dark royal blue, for example.
If you’re still confused, there are a few quick rules to help you approximate. Yellower skin tones are warm – think amber or peaches and cream skin. Bluer and sometimes pinker skin tones are cool. Olive skin is an example of this. Or just take a bunch of glasses or pieces of clothing at a store or from your home and hold them up to your skin in the sun. The tones that match your skin are obvious with this test.
Of course, some people buck these traditions to good effect. But this is difficult. Tread carefully if you want your glasses to compliment your skin tone and help you when when you’re pulling a long face because you lost an hour of sleep to daylight savings.
Friday, March, 7 2014 by Dave Schreiner
We recently had a look at Glamour’s top “wearable fashions” for spring 2014 and were totally bowled over by some of the ultra-cute trends for this season. What’s particularly exiting are some of the unique ways that designers used color: Unexpected stripes, contrasting collars and even bomber jackets in decidedly girly shades. This made it a snap to find great frames to go with these looks.
Want to stay on trend this season? Check out how Zennis can complete your look with these ideas:
Cool pastels are hot this spring, so get yourself some new frames to complete your look!
There are three ways you can coordinate your glasses to beautiful spring pastels:
- Keep things light: Choose matching or complimentary light colored frames that will give you an all-over spring look.
- Go deep: If you want to draw attention to your pretty face, choose frames in a deep shade of your outfit’s color family. For maximum impact, wear jewelry in the same shade.
- Modern Metallics: For a super-modern look, choose metallic frames in a complimentary pastel color.
Contrast Collar Button Down Shirts
This is a totally fun trend that requires a little forethought when it comes to accessorizing.
Here are two things to think about when selecting Zenni’s to go with your contrast collar blouse:
- Grab a pair of frames that match the collar.
Or. . .
- Find a pair of multi-color frames that pick up both the collar color as well as that of the rest of the shirt.
What you don’t want to do is add more colors to the mix (i.e. don’t wear green frames with a blue shirt that has a yellow collar), that’s distracting. Stay consistent.
Bomber Jackets in Fun Colors and Spring Sweaters
The Glamour article showed some incredible bomber jackets in decidedly feminine hues along with fun spring sweaters that can take you comfortably from cooler mornings into warm afternoons. While I could recommend doing the matching/contrasting color thing with your frames, I’m instead going to recommend that you pick up a pair classic aviators to go with your jacket and/or sweater. Too much color and wackiness is distracting and if you are going to invest in multi-colored jackets and sweaters, you want all the attention on these pieces, not your eyeglass frames.
Athletic Stripe Trousers
Now here’s a concept: Trousers with sporty side stripes, a look borrowed from athletic wear. Choose a sporty frame in a solid color that matches the stripe.
Thursday, March, 6 2014 by Lainie Petersen
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