What makes a good lens?

We’ll craft the best glasses for YOUR needs with these six ingredients.

Wondering what to consider before you buy new glasses? Or what makes ZEISS lenses so good? All of these ingredients combined make for a great pair of eyeglass lenses – just for YOU.

Single vision, progressives or something in between?

No surprise – it all starts with your eyes.

The first step toward your unique ZEISS lens solution is understanding which type of lenses you need. This depends on your prescription and the distances at which your eyes struggle to focus.

Your eyes

An illustration of a lens without any prescription.

Plano lenses

Plano lenses are lenses without any prescription. They serve a different purpose than correcting vision – like sunglasses with UV protection, protective eyewear for hazardous conditions, or lenses for blue light exposure.

An illustration of a single vision lens. It’s filled with a light blue color throughout and a single icon shows that it has only one prescription for one distance.

Single vision lenses

Single vision lenses are for people who are nearsighted (myopic), farsighted (hyperopic) or have astigmatism – a common eye condition where the front surface of the eye is shaped like a football instead of a round shape. Single vision distance glasses or reading glasses have only one prescription power throughout the entire lens and correct one field of vision – near or far.

An illustration of an anti-fatigue lens. Two icons and a color gradient from dark blue at the bottom to light blue at the top indicate that the biggest area of the lens has a distance prescription, but that there is a small area at the bottom that helps with close-up vision.

Digital lenses

Digital lenses, also called “anti-fatigue lenses,” are single vision lenses with a “boost” at the bottom. They are ideal for people in their mid-30s to 40s who sometimes feel eye strain but don’t need progressive lenses yet. Despite the name, these lenses aren’t just for people who use digital devices a lot. They can also help your eyes switch easily between your favorite book and the view outside.

An illustration of a progressive lens showing three different zones. Three icons and color gradient indicate three prescriptions for different distances – near, intermediate and far.

Progressive lenses

Progressive lenses, also referred to as no-line bifocals, are designed to correct presbyopia. If, like many people over 45, you need support to see up close, far away and maybe also in between – they’re a great choice. Progressives have three prescriptions in one. They allow for a seamless transition from distance to near vision. No need to switch glasses and no noticeable lines which are found on traditional bifocal and trifocal lenses.

An illustration of a bifocal lens. A dark blue area indicates the reading zone, while a light blue part of the lens indicates the distance zone.

Multifocal lenses

Before progressive lenses came into play, bifocal and trifocal lenses were a common solution for presbyopes. They are more like a lens-in-a-lens with clearly visible lines. Unlike progressives, they don’t offer the smooth transition between different viewing zones – and don’t look that great, either.

An illustration of a ZEISS Office lens. It shows the different distances of near, intermiediate and distance work. It is an example of a lens design for a specialized purpose.

Specialized lenses

Some lenses are designed for a specific context and used as a second pair – our ZEISS Office lenses, for example.
Your eye care professional will determine which solution is best for you. Until then, have a look at the next five lens ingredients to level up your lenses.

When and where will you wear your glasses?

Tailor them to YOUR world.

All lenses are not created equal: Even if they have the same prescription, their optical design might be worlds apart. Choose ZEISS lenses based on your lifestyle and activities if you want tailormade clarity where it matters most.

Your lifestyle

Same prescription. Different design.

Lens optics can be engineered to better suit a specific context. Look at this example of progressive lenses – they have the same prescription, but they’re optimized for different lifestyle needs.

A basic lens design with no specific optimization. Note the small viewing zones.
A point of view image through a conventional progressive lens: The blurred zones left and right are large and the clear intermediate and near zones quite small.
The vision zones are optimized for clarity through more of the lens.
A point of view image through a ZEISS Progressive SmartLife lens: The blurred zones left and right of the lens are small and enable large clear vision zones.
These vision zones ensure an easy switch between dashboard, mirrors and road.
A point of view image through a ZEISS Progressive DriveSafe lens: The vision zones are adapted so the driver has clear vision zones on the road and dashboard.
Glasses illustration showing the blurry zones of standard single vision lenses in comparison to the large clear zones of ZEISS Single Vision ClearView lenses
Glasses illustration showing the blurry zones of standard single vision lenses in comparison to the large clear zones of ZEISS Single Vision ClearView lenses

Beware of the blur. Go customized.

The magic of a good lens lies in its design and built-in technology – things you really can’t see, but will notice when wearing your glasses.

Standard lenses provide clear vision through the center of the lens, but things may look blurred or distorted through the sides due to limited optimization parameters. Our more customizable options use innovative technologies to adapt the optics for perfect clarity through more of the lens.

Forget about your glasses – just focus on life.   

Where will your eyes look through your glasses?

Your frame + your face = your unique fit.

Did you know your face and frame can play a role in how well you see? They determine the size, position and angle of your lenses. High-tech fine tuning with ZEISS technologies can adapt your lens optics to be one of a kind – just like you.

Your face & frame

Same face. Different frame.

We want you to get a frame you love. But your frame choice will influence your lens size and vision zones, especially if you wear progressive or digital lenses. ZEISS FrameFit+ technology can adapt the corridor of your lenses based on their shape and size in your frame. You’ll get the best out of your lenses – whatever style you go for.

Same frame. Different face.

Facial features like your nose and ears influence the position of your lenses – the angle at which they sit and how high. With ZEISS FaceFit technology, your lens optics can be calculated to accommodate how your glasses fit on your face.

Do it the modern way.

Many eye  care professionals use high-tech ZEISS centration devices to take super-precise measurements of your face and frame. This helps them to personalize your lenses – down to the very last detail.
Find an eye doctor now or continue to the next lens ingredient.

Concerned about digital eyestrain, blue light or UV rays?

Get protection for all kinds of light.

Protecting your eyes should always be top-of-mind. That’s why even our clear lenses offer sunglass-level UV protection. What about blue light, sunglasses or an all-in-one self-tinting pair? We’ve got you covered – in all kinds of light.

Eye protection

Protect your eyes with clear ZEISS lenses.

All ZEISS clear plastic lenses include UVProtect technology. This provides the same UV protection as premium sunglasses at no extra cost. Feeling the strain of too much screen time? Choose  ZEISS BlueGuard as  the lens material for your glasses.

blocks up to 40% of potentially harmful blue light to fight the symptoms associated with digital eyestrain.
blocks UV rays up to 400 nm – even if you’re wearing clear ZEISS lenses.
Close-up of a woman wearing glasses with ZEISS UVProtect technology. Half of the picture was taken by a normal camera and the other half by a UV camera. The UV picture shows that ZEISS clear lenses are as effective as sunglasses in blocking harmful UV rays.

3-in-1 protection with photochromic lenses.

Don’t want to change glasses? Our self-tinting ZEISS PhotoFusion X lenses react to changing light conditions – fast. They go from perfectly clear indoors to a sunglass-level tint outside. They also provide blue light and sunglass-level UV protection – all the time.

Protection and comfort in the sun with prescription sunglasses.

Want sunglasses to enhance your look? Or for a specific activity? We’ve got you covered. ZEISS prescription sunglasses are available in a range of solid tints, gradients and mirror options. Our polarized sunglass lenses offer extra glare protection and visual comfort – ideal for drivers and sporty types.

How thin and light can they be?

Feel good. Look great.

No one wants to hide behind thick, heavy glasses. Instead, they should seem barely there. This is where your lens material and its refractive index come into play. Let your glasses lose some weight.

Thickness & weight
A young woman holding two thick lenses in front of her eyes to show the fish bowl effect.

Look, see and feel better.

Thick lenses won’t just distort your eyes in funny ways – they can also distort your peripheral vision. Heavy glasses are simply uncomfortable to wear and can leave pressure marks on your nose.
Making sure your lenses are as thin and light as possible will certainly pay off.   

1.50, 1.53 Trivex, 1.59 Polycarbonate, 1.60, 1.67, 1.74 …

This number refers to the lens material index. The numbers describe how well the lens material bends light. The higher the index, the better the lens does its job – which means less material is needed. It directly impacts the thickness and weight of your lenses – especially if you have a higher prescription. See the difference.

Standard-index plastic lenses have a refractive index of 1.5. This could provide acceptably thin lenses but, especially for high prescriptions, there might be room for improvement.
Illustrations of plus and minus lenses in different indices: The higher the index, the thinner the lenses.
The same prescription in a 1.6 mid-index material could let your lenses lose up to 20% of their thickness and weight.
Illustrations of plus and minus lenses in different indices: The higher the index, the thinner the lenses.
Lenses with a high index like 1.67 or 1.74 can make your lenses up to 40% thinner and lighter than a standard index material with the same prescription.
Illustrations of plus and minus lenses in different indices: The higher the index, the thinner the lenses.

Scratches, smudges, annoying reflections?

Protect your glasses. See and be seen.

Add some high-tech layers to protect and enhance your glasses. Boost durability, reduce reflections, make them easier to clean – and more. With a whole family of ZEISS DuraVision lens coatings to choose from, you have options galore.

Durability & care
An image of a frame with many coating layers emerging from the lens.

Which superpowers will you add to your lenses?

Eyeglass coatings are thin, invisible layers of material applied to lenses. They are designed to reduce reflections, increase scratch resistance and improve the overall appearance of your glasses. Different types of coatings can be combined to give your lenses the finishing touch of your choice.