What is an AR Coating, and Do I Really Need It?

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It’s a problem only those who wear glasses understand. You’re trying to take a selfie, but every time it seems like there’s a large glare where your eyes should be in the photo. That’s likely caused by the lack of an AR coating on your lenses. While it might make it tough to take that perfect selfie, it affects your vision too.

What is an AR coating and do I really need it?

An AR coating is an anti-reflective coating. It’s applied to the front of your glasses so you don’t get the reflection that bounces off. Instead, the light passes through the lens and enters the eyes, giving you sharper, clearer vision.

The coatings can be applied to the front and back of your lenses to help protect them from scratches and smudges, repel dust and water, and defend against UV exposure. Additionally, AR coatings can reduce eye strain caused by glare and reflections, and prevent the “halos” you might see from oncoming cars at night. The coating also reduces the reflection of light, allowing others to better see your eyes through the lenses.

Need another reason to enhance your next pair of glasses with an AR coating? VSP members can receive a $35 mail-in rebate when they purchase Unity Progressive Lenses from a doctor participating in the VSP Global Premier Program, with at least one of these AR coatings: Unity Anti-Reflective Coating or blue light-reducing TechShield Blue.

Find a doctor participating in the Premier Program near you.


  • Virginia Rieth says:

    My coating became spotty and My EyE Doctor said it was out of warranty. I have never had this problem before and I have worn glasses all my life. They said today coatings only last two years…. Very disappointing At best.

  • Angela Carmichael says:

    I didn’t know about the AR coating and dose it cost extra

  • Peter Greene says:

    I got AR coating on my last pair of glasses, after swearing I wouldn’t get them once before. I made the same mistake twice. Not only did they not do anything to improve the “halo” of oncoming car headlights, they may have actually made things slightly worse. But the biggest problem is that it makes the glasses extremely susceptible to scratches (on the coating surface) due to using anything but microfiber clothes to clean the lens, and grime sticks to it more so than uncoated lenses. As far as I’m concerned, AR coatings are a waste of money (>$100) and I’ll never get it again.

  • Susan says:

    I am very hard on my glasses and the coating scratched up after only a few weeks. It feels like something is in my eyes or I can’t get the glasses clean enough. I’ll never get it again.

  • Nhan says:

    Thank you for the information. Doctor said I should have a coating. I will consider before the purchase. Thank you!

  • Trina says:

    I ‘ve only gotten the coating twice & it definitely made seeing worse st night so now I get a gradual tint of color starting at the top & fading toward the middle. This helps working in an office with fluorescent lights

  • Kris says:

    Absolutely hate the coating. My glasses are never clean because of the constant smudging.

  • M Rowe says:

    This is my 2nd pair of AR lenses (from different vendors). Same experiences as Peter and PR except for the part about easy scratching. Instead, my coated lenses smudge readily and the only way to clean them is with soap and water. Other methods just smear the smudges. Starting at about 14 months I noticed I didn’t see as clearly. Poor vision progressed until I now see almost as well without glasses under some conditions although according to an eye exam my prescription hasn’t changed. So now I prematurely have the expense of new glasses – again. This happened with the 1st pair of AR lenses as well.

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