Questions on Light Sensitivity

A friend recently sent me a Facebook Messenger question, and allowed for me to share it.  Here is our conversation on light sensitivity…

A.L.:  Hey Ric I have a professional question for you. I seem to be very sensitive to bright lights especially flashing ones. I can’t handle strobe lights or white fireworks. I also need to have sunglasses when I’m outside when it’s bright. I know a lot of people want sunglasses but I feel like I really need them. And I know other people don’t seem to have the issues with strobes and fireworks that I do. I’m wondering if there’s anything that I can actually do about this or if I just need to continue living with it and dealing with it. I thought you might have some insight.
And to be clear when I say I can’t handle strobe lights or fireworks I mean they cause me actual physical pain.

O.J.:  You’re not the first one I heard about having this issue. There isn’t a way to make it go away necessarily

You will want to spend the money on good sunglasses.
A.L.:  That’s kind of what I figured. [SPOUSE] had to lead me through some parts of the mazes with my eyes closed because of the strobes.
O.J.:  Night stuff is harder to deal with. Perhaps using a blue blocker lens for those situations.  Something like an Eyezen with a good Anti-Reflective, which filters just a specific band of blue light without altering the colors you perceive too much.  If that doesn’t work using a lens with more of a yellow filter like Prevencia or GUNNAR lenses might help. Though a Gunnar solution will change your color perception quite a bit.

I highly recommend Maui Jim for sunglasses. You can’t find better
A.L:  Cool. I never really knew which brands were expensive for the sake of being expensive and which were actually quality.
O.J.:  Maui does not have sales or discounts other than discontinued models at Costco.
A.L.: OK
O.J.:  Their lens tech is patented and better than any other. Probably suggest either the true grey or HCL lens color.
A.L.:  Thank you! I’ll look into those.
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Anti-Reflective Coating is much more than you think!

Through a couple of recent conversations with blog readers and patients, it’s become clear that many do not fully appreciate just how complicated anti-reflective treatments are to manufacture.  I hope to dispel some of this misconception today…

More than a Dip!

Since so much of lens treatments can be cone by dipping a lens in a hot vat of some near-boiling liquid, it’s easy to understand how you might think that’s all there is to an anti-reflective coating.  But, believe it or not, even the most inexpensive (read: easily scratched) coatings require a multi-stage process to apply to a lens.

This video showing the application of Crizal Avance will give you a little window into the process of applying a no glare treatment to lenses.

Lenses need to enter a dust free room similar to those in the manufacture of microprocessors. Then they must go through a multi-stage bath system to remove any and all dust, residue, oils, or items with the potential of producing blemishes on the lens. Once the lenses are fully cleaned, then they are placed in a tray inside a vacuum chamber and blasted with various ionic elements so that they can adhere fully to the lens, and provide both the light bending action to minimize reflection, as well as provide the scratch, oil, and water resistance layers.  For the best coatings this is 9-15 layers to complete this process.

AR Chamber.png

Inside Chamber.png

Once the lenses are removed from the chamber, then they are given a visual inspection to make sure the coating adhered properly.  Any speck of dust left on the lens before entering the chamber will ruin the coating, creating a drip point from which the coating cannot adhere properly.

AR Layers

The Number of Layers in a Crizal Alize Coating

 

Take Away

There are many dozen variations on anti-reflective manufacturing, but all of them, even the most inexpensive simple solution, requires an elaborate process of cleaning, dust-free rooms, and vacuum chambers to apply the coating.  In great part, this helps to explain just why anti-reflective coatings cost so much.

 

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