Rimless Glasses with High Index Lenses

For some, the eyeglass frame makes a statement, and the bolder the better.

High Index Lenses in Rimless Glasses

Rimless Glasses with High Index LensesThey prefer frames that are conspicuous: thick brow lines, ornamentation, noticeable colors or patterned prints, any style that calls attention to itself. Others prefer the opposite approach and seek to tone down the frame as much as possible.

If you’re of the latter persuasion, rimless or semi-rimless frames are the way to go. Full rimless glasses suspend the lenses in front of your eyes with as little visible support as possible. Lenses mount directly to the temple arms, with an adjoining nose bridge; from the front, only the clear lenses are visible, appearing to float without any assistance from a frame. Semi-rimless frames utilize the overhead bridge, leaving the sides and bottoms of the lenses exposed for a lighter look. Both options offer a more open, less restrictive appearance than a full frame.

The key to the availability of rimless or semi-rimless frames is the weight and thickness of your lenses. The lack of a surrounding-mount frame results in a reduction in stability and durability, and because of the added exposure, rimless or semi-rimless lenses are more prone to damage than those mounted in full-frame styles. If your vision correction prescription is fairly or very strong, your lenses may be too thick and heavy to fit a rimless or semi-rimless frame style. Stronger prescriptions can also require a deep curvature, resulting in thick edges that are not aesthetically pleasing or simply do not fit a rimless or semi-rimless bridge.

If this is true in your case, high index lenses may provide an answer. High index plastic allows prescriptions to be cut using less lens material and with less of a curve, resulting in a reduction of the overall lens thickness. This is especially noticeable at the edges of the lenses and may reduce them enough to make them viable in a rimless style. And because less material is being used to form your prescription, high index plastic lenses weigh less than an identical prescription cut of standard plastic or glass.

Shop High Index GlassesBecause of this, the switch from standard to high index material could be enough to allow you to order your lenses in the rimless or semi-rimless frame of your choice. Seek the advice of your optometrist or eyewear manufacturer; they’ll be able to read your prescription and tell you if your lenses can be mounted in rimless or semi-rimless styles.

Guide to High Index Lenses 10 Responses to Rimless Glasses with High Index Lenses
    April 7, 2014 | 10:22 pm

    I would like to ask for your advice.
    I have astigmatism
    right eye OS -2.50 cylinder -1.25 axis 156
    left eye OD -4.25 cylinder -1.25 axis 010
    Can I have semirimless frame if I have High Index Lenses?
    And what index number and material can I ask for?
    Or it will not look good at all becouse the big diference
    between two eyes?

    Please advise.
    Thank you.

    • Kieran Hunt
      April 9, 2014 | 4:31 pm

      Hi Bob,

      You can get a semirimless frame with high index lenses. You can get any type of high index plastic in semirimless, so I’d suggest going with 1.70 or 1.74. The difference between your eyes will be noticeable upon close inspection, but they will not be very noticeable in general. If you’re trying to avoid people noticing this difference, I’d advise against getting the semirimless frame.

      Please let us know if you have any more questions!

      Kieran Hunt

  2. Bob Stepanek
    May 5, 2014 | 3:13 am

    Thank You Kieran Hunt for your advise.

    I selected full rim, matte black stainless steel frame Caterpillar CTO 9003 design size 55-17-140.
    I like this frame a lot.
    I have my distance PD 69 mm.
    Now I am looking for right lenses for my frame.
    I would like to have a photochromic lenses.
    I did talk to several sales people at different optical offices. And I did not buy a lenses .
    I do work in office and I go to the construction sites too. I am using a computer only approximately one hour per day and I do not drive at night very often.
    I do live in Houston Texas which is hot during a summer and construction site can by a very dusty sometimes and a very hot in Summer.
    My concern is about AR coating which is a very delicate even the best one Crizal Alize , or Carat.
    I have currently a basic polycarbonate lenses with anti scratch coating and no AR coating at all. Even this anti scratch coating is pealing off from my old lenses in places where lenses are a very close to my skin around nose and gets sweaty when I am outside in Houston summer heat.

    What would be a good lenses for full rim steel frame size 55-17 with square shape
    if my OS is sphere -4.25 cylinder -1.25 axis 156

    and lenses for Houston outside environment with summer heat and dust sometimes and sweat a LOTT.

    I would like to have photochromic lenses. Will it be good if with no AR coatings? And what brand of lenses should I ask for. And what refraction index?
    Every optometrist which I did talk to told me something different. They try to sell me even UV coating for photochromic lenses. I wish to find good helpful optometrist in Houston.Not just sales people.

    Thank you for your advise
    Bob Stepanek

    • Kieran Hunt
      May 13, 2014 | 2:39 pm

      Hi Bob,

      You definitely have a complicated situation with the dust. Polycarbonate lenses are, by their nature, soft and easily scratched, and no coating will be able to fully stop that.

      If you need safety glasses, there are fewer options for lenses. High index lenses sometimes work for ANSI Z87 safety glasses, but not always. Obviously, the thinner you make your lenses, the less they’re going to protect you from impact. Polycarbonate is the most impact-resistant material, though high index is more scratch proof.

      I’m going to give you two suggestions. One is for if you don’t need safety glasses, the other is for if you do. I’ll give the brand and lens info you can give an optometrist first, then explain them.

      If you don’t need ANSI Z87-approved safety glasses, go with Transitions Signature 1.70 lenses with a scratch coating. NO UV OR AR COATINGS. This lens is available from Vision-Ease Lens Company in their “Thindex” line.

      If you DO need ANSI Z87-approved safety glasses, go with Transitions XTRActive polycarbonate lenses with a scratch coating. NO UV OR AR COATINGS. This lens is available from many lens companies, including Younger Optics.

      If you do NOT need ANSI Z87-approved safety glasses, go with high index 1.70 lenses in Transitions Signature (the standard Transitions lenses). They are already UV resistant, so you DO NOT need UV coating. Anyone trying to sell you UV coating on Transitions lenses is trying to take advantage of you. Since you’re going to be around so much dust, get a scratch coating, but don’t get anti-reflective coating. You’re going to have to deal with some glare, but it’ll be worst at night. Since you don’t do much night driving, I think it’s worth dealing with it rather than get a coating that’s just going to come off in three months.

      If you DO need ANSI Z87-approved safety glasses, I suggest going with polycarbonate Transitions XTRActive lenses. They will change behind the windshield of your car, which will be great in bright sunlight. They are the darkest Transitions lenses, and they’re the ones that work best in hot weather. They also aren’t available in high index lens material, so you’d have to get them in polycarbonate (or standard plastic, which I don’t recommend for your prescription because of the thickness). Again, I would go with a scratch coating but no anti-reflective.

      If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m sorry it took me a week to get back to you! I missed your comment. I’ll get back to you quicker next time.

      Kieran Hunt

  3. Mr Amarjeet Panesar
    June 7, 2014 | 12:07 pm

    Dear Sir

    I want to buy Lindberg rimless with High Index Zeiss lenses. Nobody does a combination of both in the city where I live.I am being offered Hoya, Seiko or other brands of lenses. Are they all as good in quality and will Zeiss offer me a better degree of thinness on the outside edges than anything else on the market ?


  4. Dawne
    June 13, 2014 | 1:44 pm


    First, I would like to thank you for your interest in our high index lenses.

    As for the brand of lenses and their performance, In my opinion they all offer the same allowance when it comes to thickness as well as visual clarity. It’s just the “Brand” that sells itself and the “Brand” is advertised as being superior to anything else. One”Brand” thinks they are better than the other. It’s kind of like the same concept of prescription medication. You are sold the brand, given generic usually by a pharmacy unless you object to it. The “Brand” does the same thing as generic, but again it comes down to preference.

    The key factor to having great glasses is purchasing the right frames for your prescription and selecting options for your lenses that are most beneficial to you.

    To advise you correctly there are a couple things more I’d like to know.

    What degree of prescription do you have?
    What lens options are you interested in.
    What will you be using these glasses for?
    When will they be used the most?

  5. Dawne
    June 13, 2014 | 2:46 pm


    The Abbe value does contribute to your visual clarity. Although the Abbe value varies in the index you use as well as material it becomes more of a factor w/the way the glasses are made as well as the shape of the lens,
    Abbe value is just one factor that should trail in only after dealing with the more significant design issues. By optimizing the lens material with aspheric designs and anti reflection— Abbe value and other qualities of materials become minimal issues.
    Anti reflective is highly recommended when getting high index lenses. There is an additional cost for this option.

    When purchasing high index lenses you should keep the shape of the lens as circular or oval as possible, this aides in eliminating the Abbe value becoming a concern as well as decreasing thickness on the edges. You also should consider a frame that has a rim, a thicker rim when the prescription is higher or not the shape as described previously .

    Below is a chart on Abbe Value.

    Have a great day!

    Material Refractive Index Abbe
    1.74 1.74 32
    1.70 1.70 36
    1.67 1.67 32
    1.60 1.60 42
    Polycarbonate 1.59 32
    Trivex 1.53 45
    Standard Plastic 1.50 58

  6. Yolanda
    June 17, 2014 | 4:22 am


    I purchased rectangular rimless frames with single vision high index 1.74 lenses. The lenses are 52mm wide and 24mm high. I have an older pair of glasses where the lenses are 46mm wide and 30mm high with “feather weight” lenses I purchased about 10 years ago. I thought the high index lenses would be thinner, they are about the same. Would you know how thick the high index lens should be? The Rx on the new lenses are -5.50, the old -5.25. The lens thickness is about .3mm.

    Thank you.

  7. paula lavoie
    January 3, 2016 | 4:10 am

    i want rimless eyeglasses. I have the following script for lens: OD: +5.25, +.50, 175, +2.50. US: +5.25, +1, 180, +2.50. What lens would you recommend. I want Charmant XL rimless frame.

    • Ryan Phillips
      January 8, 2016 | 1:36 pm

      With That high of a plus Rimless glasses are very tought to make. We can do it but they don’t look great. I want to be honest with you. I would suggest the 1.74 if you would like to talk more about it call Kyle Ferris at 732-227-4225 or you can email him at kferris@phillips-safety.com

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