Do lens coatings break down over time?

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When you think of the life span of a pair of glasses, there are likely two scenarios that pop into mind. Perhaps your prescription changed or maybe they broke. But say you’re amazing at caring for your glasses and your doctor says you don’t have changes to your vision that require you to get a new prescription, there is still an important aspect of your glasses you should keep up to date—your lenses.

Do lens coatings or additions break down over time?

“Coatings, just like anything else in the world has wear and tear, and they’re not going to last forever,” said VSP network doctor Nichole Moos, OD.

Wait, what’s a coating and why do I need it?

Coatings and additions, also known as lens enhancements, are an optional feature for your prescription lenses that are designed to improve your overall experience with your glasses. Not only do they help with glare and providing comfortable vision, they can protect your lenses from visible scratches that reduce your ability to see. They can also be water and oil resistant, as well as easier to clean. Common lens enhancement options include anti-reflective (AR) coatings, light-reactive, and blue light reduction. Having a lens enhancement or coating added to your lenses will optimize your vision, but it’s important to remember that a higher-quality AR coating will perform better, which will help to extend the life of the coating and the lenses.

There are several choices when it comes to enhancements, and an eye doctor can explain which options will benefit you the most. Your vision plan typically provides savings on different lens enhancements too.

According to Dr. Moos, lens enhancements and coatings can last anywhere from a year to about two years. With a higher-quality enhancement or coating and proper care, you can greatly increase the shelf-life of your lenses.

Watch Dr. Moos describe the signs that it’s time to update your lens coatings.

Consult with your eye doctor on what lens enhancements and coatings are right for you and when you need to replace them. Use our Find a Doctor tool for a quick and easy way to locate your nearest VSP network provider.

Don’t have a vision care plan? Check out all the available individual plans to meet your eye care needs.

If you have a general eye-related question, be sure to comment below or post to social media with hashtag #AskAnEyeDoc.

Disclaimer:  Information received through VSP Vision Care’s social media channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis or treatment.  Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. 




  • Susan Goyer says:

    I purchased the scratch resistance enhancements, and 9 months later my lense is scratched. Will this be replaced for free?

    • Angelina F. says:

      Hi Susan,
      If you are a VSP member, please contact customer service and they can help look into this for you. Customer service can be reached at 800.428.4833.
      -Angelina F., VSP

  • Michael J. Pesek says:

    How best to clean lens?

  • Michael Perkins says:

    Good Imfo

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