AR coatings are not durable long-term

Discussion in 'Optometry Archives' started by SQ, Apr 16, 2008.

  1. SQ

    SQ Guest

    I got an AR coating for the first time in my life, on high-index
    lenses.

    Before these, I had regular non-coated glasses that I used to clean
    with TP or Kleenex -
    the lenses held up well, no scratches. Always followed the same
    procedure: Wash with mild
    soap solution, clean while wet, wipe until dry. No problems.

    Tried cleaning these new AR coated lenses with Kleenex and what a
    mess. Caused several
    deep scratches and a myriad smaller ones. Never had that issue with
    non-coated lenses
    for 10 years, not one scratch.

    So I switched to a microfiber cloth and cleaned very carefully, using
    soap-based solutions
    without alcohol, cleaning only when wet. The scratches stopped. But
    about 6 months later,
    the coating started coming off in chunks, started to see crazing,
    blurry spots while
    looking through the glasses. It's a disaster.

    In a nutshell, with AR, I had issues with:

    1) Scratches
    2) Coating coming off
    3) Staining

    The coating I got is junk, plain and simple. Not sure what the brand
    is. I took it back to the
    store and they promised to replace with lenses with another coating.
    I hope it's a premium coating like Crizal and more durable.

    Basically my conclusion is that not all AR coatings are created equal,
    and that they are all
    high-maintenance. My next pair of eyeglasses will not have them. I
    never had issues with
    glare or anything like that, they fix a problem that doesn't exist and
    reduce long-term
    durability.

    AR coatings are vulnerable to a multidude of things that non-coated
    eyeglasses are not
    sensitive to:

    Having highly acidic perspiration
    Cleaning with Kleenex
    Chlorine from swimming pools, salt in sea water - if you must wear
    your glasses
    while swimming
    Excessive heat, i.e. leaving them on the dashboard of your car
    Hairspray
    Acetone
    Windex, or any cleaner containg ammonia


    My last pair of eyeglasses without a coating lasted for 10 years
    without a scratch
    and was highly durable.
    IMO it's just a way to extract more cash from the consumer by selling
    these junk
    coatings, saying that you "need" them, like car dealers that push
    overpriced,
    unnecessary options. I asked my optician if I could get a pair without
    AR coatings and
    was told "No", that explains everything.
     
    SQ, Apr 16, 2008
    #1
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  2. SQ

    toddster63 Guest

    Invest in some lint-free microfiber polishing cloths. Most places just
    give them away these days, and if not they are cheap. They clean the
    lenses wonderfully, with nary a scratch. You can hand wash them every
    so often, and they dry very fast.

    I have been using these microfiber cloths on my sunglasses and
    eyeglasses, and they truly make a difference--no more TP, or Kleenex
    again! That just causes too many scratches with coatings and
    sunglasses...!

    And you are right--a lot of the AR coating are rip-offs and priced way
    too high for inferior quality. I think the prices for Crizal are a
    bit of a joke, but it does seem the most durable of the lot, so what
    are you going to do...?!
     
    toddster63, Apr 16, 2008
    #2
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  3. SQ

    Salmon Egg Guest

    I have complained for a long time that the current style for using
    plastic lenses and all the consequent sequelae. Glass lenses just will
    have better optical properties and better scratch resistance than
    plastic.

    Moreover, glass allows the deposition of coatings that require
    temperature temperatures so high that plastics cannot be used. High
    temperature deposition can lead to coatings s durable that can be
    removed only with great difficulty. It still frequires cleanliness and
    careful preparation of the lenses.

    Unfortunately, it is getting very difficult to get lenses and
    practically impossible to obtain hot coatings. Hot coatings are used for
    much optical equipment but not for spectacles. I just had to settle for
    plastic lenses and compatible coatings. Both were not cheap.

    To give you an idea of the durability of good coatings, there are
    military specifications that call for testings coatings. This include
    rubbing the coating with a soft pencil eraser to insure that the coating
    will not rub off. Another test applies Scotch Tape to the coating to
    make sure that it will not lift off when the tape is pulled off.

    Bill
     
    Salmon Egg, Apr 16, 2008
    #3
  4. SQ

    SQ Guest

    toddster63,

    I used a microfiber cloth for the last 6 months and it has slowed
    down, but not prevented disastrous peeling, crazing and staining. I
    wash the microfiber cloth weekly, use it only when they are wet, etc.
    and it hasn't helped all that much due to the fragile nature of the
    coating. This AR coating is in such a poor shape that it should be
    removed totally, if I find a product that can do that. I will try to
    find out the name of it so that others can avoid it.

    My optician promised to exchange it for free under warranty, so I am
    not really loosing anything other than some time and frustration. Plus
    I got some experience and education out of it.

    Salmon Egg,

    Interesting points you make. I noticed that hydrophobic coatings on
    high-end optics are so durable as to next to impossible to remove or
    dissolve. They are also very scratch resistant. I wonder if they are
    "hot coatings". I think my next pair will be glass + hot coatings if
    I can find someone to do it. Or else regular plastic without
    coatings. But not this disaster.
     
    SQ, Apr 17, 2008
    #4
  5. SQ

    Salmon Egg Guest

    What material is used for your lenses? If you can find someone who hot
    deposits, please let me know about it.

    Bill
     
    Salmon Egg, Apr 18, 2008
    #5
  6. SQ

    SQ Guest

    Robert Martellaro,

    Thanks for your interesting comments.

    High quality glass should never be cleaned with any paper products,
    including Kleenex.I had a pair of eyeglasses that was rather immune to
    kleenex (TP is an even cheaper and viable alternative) but these days,
    I don't risk it and use Microfiber cloth.
    I think so too. I didn't even understand they put a coating on it
    until after I got the glasses. I didn't even know what a coating was.
    So I got stuck with some cheap coating that came off within months of
    use.

    Two things just came up:

    First, I just got a replacement lenses per warranty, the store was
    nice enough to take care of that (on a pair of $500-600 eyeglasses,
    you expect nothing less). I inquired what they were, and was told
    they are Essilor. (don't know specific model) I asked if they were
    AR coatings, and they said no, it's just a scratch-proof coating (and
    seems to work BTW, much easier to clean). And it's definitely
    hydrophobic. It seems to be a quality coating, but it's not AR.

    The other interesting thing I was told was that the previous coating
    that got damaged was *not* an AR coating. I have a hard time
    understanding this, as it was green when looked at the front of the
    lense, a sign of an AR coating, and if not AR, then what was it?
    Certainly not scratch-proof as it miserably failed in that regard.
    Another thing that I find peculiar is that I *think* these old not-so-
    durable coatings gave me a higher contrast than what they replaced it
    with. I asked them, did not get very many meaningful answers and just
    left it at that.

    Now question for you: How durable is Essilor's Crizal long-term? I
    don't want to replace my lenses every 2-3 years.

    I suspect that these lenses I just got are Essilor's AirWare as they
    feel much lighter than the older lenses. They also seem to have more
    chromatic abberations and do not have the same high contrast than the
    older lenses with the slightly heavier lenses.
     
    SQ, Apr 19, 2008
    #6
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