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One of the most common questions asked of an optician upon first introductions is regarding price: “How much are glasses?” Though the question may seem reasonable enough, there is one major issue in answering said query. All glasses are not created equal. There are myriad coatings, add-ons, edge treatments, and other bells and whistles that can have an impact on the price of your glasses. This guide was designed to help you decide which lens upgrades are right for you and in which, if any, situations.

Lens Material

Glass Lenses

The first option to choose from has a direct relationship with your prescription: the lens material. Glass lenses have been the standard since the invention of spectacles, and to this day are preferred by some patients. The benefits of glass include a higher Abbe value (the measurement of dispersion through transparent material) which allows for greater acuity, and greater scratch resistance. Glass downsides include low impact resistance, weight, thickness, and discoloration over time.

Plastic Lenses

Cr39 or Plastic lenses are now considered optical standard; when compared to glass lenses, Cr39 lenses are thinner, lighter, and not prone to discoloration. They also take less time to manufacture, and thus are a more convenient lens. Cr 39 lenses are likely to scratch and can even shatter with improper care; though they are less likely to do so than glass.

Polycarbonate Lenses

Polycarbonate lenses are still thinner and lighter than Cr39, and are the best selling lenses in the industry. Poly lenses are virtually shatterproof and have a great deal of scratch resistance. The downside to Poly lenses is a slight degradation in Abbe value, though most users of the material don’t notice any imperfections in their vision.

High Index Lenses

High Index lenses come in several varieties, indicated by the index of refraction value (1.60, 1.66, 1.67, etc) where the higher the number, the thinner the lens will appear. These lenses offer similar properties to the Cr39 lens, with slightly lower Abbe Values with each increase of index. These lenses are generally recommended for patients with high prescriptions only (> +/- 5.00).

How Will Your Lens Be Used?

Once the material is decided, the next move is to decide how the lenses will be used (e.g. computer work, night driving, reading, all day use, etc.). This allows the optician to narrow the scope of options to only those that will actually help you.

Anti-Reflective Coating

The anti-reflective (AR) coating, for example, is a lens add-on that increases light transmission to your eyes. This allows for greater clarity and reduced glare. A side benefit of this coating is an aesthetic one, where an AR coated lens will appear invisible, eliminating the glare that many glasses wearers find in photographs. This coating is primarily used for patients that wear their glasses all day, when at their computer, or when driving. There is no real downside to this coating, but if you’re not careful with the glasses, the coating can and will scratch.

Transition Lenses

Transition lenses are specially designed with Ultra-Violet reactive materials that indicate to the lens when to darken and lighten. This feature is ideally suited to patients who spend dedicated time outdoors for gardening or hiking, and don’t like the idea of carrying two pairs of glasses. They go from completely clear to sunglass dark in roughly a minute, and they do the reverse in roughly two. Downsides to transition lenses: after about six months of use there is a slight residual tint, and the lenses will not darken when driving, because UV light is filtered by most windshields.


Polarization is a filter within a sunglass lens that changes the way light enters the eye. Normally, light enters the eye from all directions and as such can sometimes cause blinding glare upon reflection. Polarizing filters eliminate this by filtering the light so that it comes in from only one direction or as a pole. This option is suited for any patient who wants sunglasses that make seeing in the sun more comfortable. You’ll notice the greatest benefits of polarization when driving, taking part in water based activities, or skiing.

Contact Lenses

Over 24 million people choose contact lenses to correct vision. When used with care and proper supervision, contacts are a safe and effective alternative to eyeglasses.

Contact lenses can be made from a number of different plastics. The main distinction among them is whether they are hard or soft. Most contact lens wearers in the United States wear soft lenses. These may be daily wear soft lenses, extended wear lenses or disposable lenses. TORIC soft lenses provide a soft lens alternative for people with slight to moderate astigmatism.

The majority of people can tolerate contact lenses, but there are some exceptions. Conditions that might prevent an individual from successfully wearing contact lenses include dry eye, severe allergies, frequent eye infections, or a dusty and dirty work environment. Most of these are only relative contraindications and may be successfully addressed with minimal intervention such as punctal occlusion. Contact lenses can be made from a number of different plastics. The main distinction among them is whether they are hard or soft. Most contact lens wearers in the United States wear soft lenses. These may be daily wear soft lenses, extended wear lenses or disposable lenses. TORIC soft lenses provide a soft lens alternative for people with slight to moderate astigmatism.

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Customized Contact Lens Fitting

Surgical procedures are not for everyone that is why we offer customized prescription eyewear and contact lens fitting.

You can choose us to do your contact lens fitting, or we can recommend a number of excellent optometrists, affiliated with our practice.

Should you decide to have your fitting with us, we will expertly determine your lens prescription and help you decide on glasses or contacts.

If contacts are your choice, then corneal topography is done to determine the shape of the cornea. We will then provide you with trial lenses to determine comfort, fit and visual acuity.

Once you have made your choice, you will be trained on insertion and removal as well as the care of the lenses. You will be able to leave the office with a trial set of lenses. As soon as you determine that the lenses are satisfactory you’ll be able to order a yearly supply of lenses and begin a life free from prescription glasses! If for some reason your eyes do not adapt to your new lenses, please bring them back and we will happily work with you until you are satisfied.

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We offer:

  • Ciba Focus Dailies
  • Ciba Focus Toric Dailies
  • Ciba Focus Progressive
  • Acuvue Bifocal
  • Acuvue 2
  • O2 Optix
  • Biomedics
  • A variety of bifocal and progressive lenses
  • Toric Lenses (for Astigmatism)
  • Hard Lenses (by special order)

Why Contact Lens Fitting is necessary for prescription of contacts:

  • Contact lens fitting is a complicated process that takes into account numerous variables for successful fit, such as your prescription, curvature of your cornea, etc.
  • A well fitting contact lens is comfortable, durable, and provides the wearer with excellent vision. A poorly fitting contact lens is likely to cause discomfort and at worst a serious sight threatening complications

Contact Lens Fitting includes the following in addition to a medical examination:

  • Visual acuity test
  • Automated refraction
  • Corneal topography
  • Evaluation of the tear film
  • Trial fitting of contacts
  • Training insertion and removal of contact lens
  • Care instructions
  • 1 to 2 week supply of trial lenses
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Although health insurance covers most of the cost of your eye examination contact lens fitting examination is almost never covered by health insurance.

Please ask our staff for the costs associated with the contact lens fitting process. Continue reading about other eye conditions treated at Benjamin Eye Institute. Call today to schedule your comprehensive eye exam at 310.275.5533.

Hear From Our Patients

Benjamin Eye Institute

147 reviews

  • Photo of Doe G.
    Doe G.
    Los Angeles, CA
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    6 reviews
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    Wow! I just had surgery by Dr. Benjamin  yesterday. Today I have 20-20, in that eye. Painless & perfect. I had no Idea, what I had been missing.
    Wonderful eye institute. Delightful & very efficient & up to date staff. Especially Myka. Treat yourself to good eye sight by the charming Dr. Benjamin. You will be in good hands.

  • Matt P.
    West Hollywood, CA
    214 friends
    31 reviews
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    I have had dry eyes for a quite sometime and had seen several physicians and got eye drops etc but not until I have seen  Dr. Benjamin I found how serious problem that it was. I had the most thorough and individual attention by Dr. Benjamin. He explained to me my problem and treatment options available. Dr. Benjamin and His staff  are very caring and they spend as much time with you as needed and one feels taken care of. I was given state of the art treatment for my dry eyes and my eyes went from feeling tired , red , scratchy and itchy to brilliantly glowing clear. Office is very serene and staff is attentive, pleasant and smiling. Dr. Benjamin is very down to earth and explains thoroughly that one understands what alis them. I will definitely  keep coming back for all my eye issues.

  • Photo of Renee T.
    Renee T.
    Los Angeles, CA
    33 friends
    44 reviews
    29 photos

    I wish I had come to Dr. Benjamin years ago!!!

    I have been hopping around between 3 eye doctors in the last few years complaining of severe eye pain, redness - so bad I haven't been able to wear contacts for a year. Every other doctor made a diagnosis in 2 minutes, prescribed a few things and sent me on my way. Nothing helped and the doctors kept saying my eyes looked fine despite my symptoms. Finally I saw Dr. Benjamin, and he listened to my concerns from top to bottom and did tests the other doctors never did! He made a brand new diagnosis which finally makes sense and fits my symptoms. He spent almost an hour with me which is unbelievable. I am so impressed with this place, even the front desk and other staff were so friendly. I'm so relieved and am looking forward to making a recovery with Dr. Benjamin and eventually getting LASIK.

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