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Anti-reflective coatings reflect ultraviolet radiation

1 March 2008


Anti-reflective (AR) coatings provide numerous visual benefits to spectacle wearers. However, coating designers and manufacturers seem to have placed little or no emphasis on reflectance of wavelengths outside the visible spectrum. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sources behind the wearer can reflect from the back lens surface toward the wearer’s eye. Various clear lens materials, with and without AR coatings, were tested for their transmittance and reflectance properties. Although the transmittance benefits of AR coatings were confirmed, most coatings were found to reflect UV radiation at unacceptably high levels. Tinted sun lenses also were tested with similar results. Frame and lens parameters were evaluated, confirming that eyewear that incorporates a high wrap frame and high base curve lenses can prevent UV radiation from reaching the eye. The findings strongly suggest that clear, flat lenses should not be dispensed for long-term use in sunny environments, even if clip-on tints are provided.


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