Difference Between Plastic and Glass Lenses (With Table)

With the advancement of technology, the ways to solve health problems have also advanced. Initially, people used to take help of handheld glasses for vision impairment, then came the era of spectacles. And now, the latest aid for vision are contact lenses. These have definitely made people’s life a lot easier.

Plastic Lens vs Glass Lens

The difference between a Plastic lens and a Glass lens is that a Plastic lens is more light but prone to scratches, whereas a Glass lens is heavier and scratch-resistant. Since glass lenses are a little more vulnerable to break, people are more inclined towards buying plastic lenses. But at the end of the day, it is the person’s feasibility that affects their choices of the lens.

The plastic lens is seen as more on the expensive side but is a lot easier to handle option when it comes to regularly wearing the lens. They are cheap and also allow better refraction of light. Although they are much prone to scratches but nowadays, they come covered with scratch resistance mostly.

Glass lenses are heavy in weight and are somewhat difficult to handle since they break easily. They require a lot of attention while wearing them as well as while keeping them. Glass lenses are more on the cheap or, say, the affordable side of the price range. Glass lenses are also heavy, and they get even heavier with an increase in their power.

Comparison Table Between Plastic and Glass Lenses

Parameters of ComparisonPlastic LensGlass Lens
WeightPlastic lenses are light in weight.Glass lenses are heavyweight.
ScratchesThey get scratches easily.Glass lenses are less prone to scratches.
DistortionPlastic lenses show a little distortion.These show little to no distortion.
PriceA plastic lens is more on the expensive side due to its many properties.The glass lens is much more affordable
BreakageA plastic lens is very durable and does not break easily on impact.Glass lenses are vulnerable to breaking and can shatter or crack easily on impact.

What is Plastic Lens?

Plastic lenses have become, with time, an astonishingly feasible option among people who need a visual aid. First and foremost, these lenses are super light in weight, like almost half the weight of glass lenses, making them easier to wear for a long time. Because of this, they also do not leave marks on the nose bridge and even stay at a place without sliding down the nose. 

However, these plastic lenses are much prone to scratches and getting dirty quickly. To tackle this, many manufacturers have started covering the surface of these plastic lenses with scratch resistance which acts as a shield and prevents scratches. Since these are made of plastic, they have high strength and do not break easily with minor to moderate impact or falling from an average height. 

One significant disadvantage of plastic lenses is their distortion tendency. When compared to glass lenses, it is observed that the plastic lens has a greater tendency to distort images. Fortunately, plastic lenses are much less reflective, making them easier to be worn at nighttime and flashy places. However, quickly feasible properties and many options in frames and sizes make them versatile and increase their prices.

What is Glass Lens?

Glass lenses were the very first option, or we must say the initial solution for vision impairments. It all started with using glass lenses to ease the problems faced by people with visual problems in older times. Glass lenses have many advantages and disadvantages of their own. Although most people are getting more inclined to the plastic ones with time, the glass lenses have not lost their charm completely.

Glass lenses are amazingly scratch-free, and it is almost impossible for them to get a scratch until and unless they fall from a height or are significantly impacted. But on the other side, they are easy to break and can shatter or crack by a simple impact or fall. They also reflect much more than plastic lenses, making them hard to glare. Glass lenses are heavier, and their weight increases even more with an increase in power. Due to their increased weight, they also have a tendency to slide down the nose, and when worn for a long duration of time, they leave impressions on the nose bridge. 

However, glass lenses have minimal to almost no distortion, which is really good quality. They are also less costly than a plastic lens, making them a feasible enough option. 

Main Differences Between Plastic and Glass Lenses

  1. Plastic lens has high distortion while glass lens has minimal to no distortion.
  2. Plastic lenses are thin and lightweight whereas, glass lens is thick and heavyweight.
  3. When it comes to maintenance, plastic lenses are more prone to scratches, and glass lenses are resistant to scratches.
  4. The plastic lens is durable and does not break easily, while the glass lens can crack or shatter with impact.
  5. The plastic lens is much expensive. On the other hand, glass lens is less expensive than plastic ones.


With both plastic and glass lens being good with their own properties, they have a good lot of pros and cons, which can make it easier to understand the difference between the two of them. On the one hand, where plastic lenses are lightweight, thin, not easily breakable, and do not reflect so much, they are also expensive, show distortion, and are prone to scratches.

However, they come in various frame designs and sizes, giving a lot of options to choose from. On the other hand, glass lenses are scratch-resistant, show little to no distortion, and are affordable; they are prone to breaking, reflect light too much, and are heavy with no various options to customise.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/4071546/
  2. https://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.78.1.72
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