What about all those extras? UV Protection, Anti-Reflective Coatings, and on and on

I’ve always been a sucker for those expensive lens coatings. In 2004 I bought a pair of eyeglasses at Target. I picked out the perfect (though overpriced) frame for $90-$100 and then came the lenses. $40 or so, they said. Not bad, I thought. "Do you want your glasses to be scratch-resistent?" the kind lady selling me the glasses asked.

"Who wants their glasses to be scratch-prone?" I thought to myself. "Then again, maybe that’s the point. Maybe they think everyone will say yes and then they get some extra dough selling modern-day snake oil. Oh well, I might as well. What’s $20 more?" I worked to rationalize the decision. "Sure, add on the scratch-resistance," I told the sales woman.

"Sounds good. Now what about an anti-reflective coating?" She asked me, knowing she had someone who would buy the high-margin add-ons.

"Hmm…" I think to myself and perhaps say aloud as she whips out some pictures. One picture shows a bunch of car headlights glowing in all directions, filling the frame with white distracting glare-light. The one below shows the same headlights, but with no glare. The headlights look simple and yellow-white, well-contained within the grill on the front of the car. "Okay, let’s do that too."

"And the UV coating?" she asks.

"Why not, I’ve gone this far."

"Okay, your total is $5,000." Cash or credit?

"Man, those were some expensive coatings. I guess my eye sight is worth it," I rationalize to myself.


My narrative failed to answer the question, "are they worth it?" How could I know, I’ve always got the extras. Over at All About Vision, they say the coatings are worth it. They even go through and explain each coating at what it does. This guy, who is apparently a licensed optician, is also a booster for the coatings. In fact, I had a hard time finding anyone who would say the lens coatings are an out-and-out scam.

So, why not go for the extras? After all, if you buy your glasses online (from…ahem…any of the manufacturers linked on the right), those extras cost a whole lot less. In fact, over at Goggles4U all of those coatings are absolutely free! The other sites charge maybe $10-$15 total for the three popular coatings (UV, anti-glare, and scratch-resistant). So, why the heck not. Get the coatings, that’s my answer!

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