Trivex is a type of plastic used in corrective eyewear lenses. It was developed by the U.S. military for use in protective eyewear and is prized for its excellent durability and high vision clarity. The lenses are available from top brands like Essilor and Younger Optics, though they may be difficult to find at some retailers.
What Is Trivex?
Trivex (also known as NXT) is a type of plastic originally developed by the US military for use in personal protective equipment. It has since seen more widespread use in consumer eyewear. It is still considered a specialty material and is not available at all optical retailers, but many carry at least one Trivex lens option.
The name Trivex drew inspiration from the material’s three key performance properties: excellent optics, light weight and high strength. Together, these properties make Trivex a superior material for eyeglass lenses.
People of all ages can wear Trivex lenses. They cost slightly more than polycarbonate lenses and are usually not covered by vision insurance.
Trivex vs. Polycarbonate
Trivex is very similar to polycarbonate, another material commonly used to make protective eyewear. The main difference between the two is their respective Abbe values.
A material’s Abbe value measures the amount of chromatic aberration experienced by people who wear corrective eyewear made from that material. Chromatic aberration describes how well a lens focuses colored light to a single point. Too much chromatic aberration can blur colors and make colors appear where they should not be.
The lower the Abbe value of a lens material, the more chromatic aberration you will experience and the more distorted your vision will be. Trivex lenses have Abbe values up to 50 percent higher than polycarbonate lenses. This allows them to provide significantly clearer vision than polycarbonate lenses.
Trivex lenses offer many advantages, starting with:
- High durability. Trivex lenses were designed for military use and are still able to withstand immense stress in consumer eyeglasses. They are impact-resistant, rarely scratch, and are even able to tolerate temperature extremes without cracking or warping.
- High optical clarity. Trivex lenses allow clearer vision than most glass or polycarbonate lenses.
- Light weight. Trivex lenses are one of the lightest eyeglass lens materials available.
- Shatterproof. Like polycarbonate, Trivex does not shatter on impact.
- UV protection. Trivex lenses offer 100 percent protection from UV radiation without any special films or coatings.
Trivex lenses also have a few disadvantages. They include:
- Cost. Trivex lenses are slightly more expensive than polycarbonate lenses. They may also not be covered by vision insurance.
- Thickness. Trivex lenses with very strong prescriptions must be made slightly thicker than polycarbonate lenses with the same prescription.
- Lack of availability. Not all optical retailers carry Trivex. If you are interested in getting Trivex lenses, you may have to research local retailers who offer this material or order your glasses online.
Who Is a Candidate?
Trivex lenses are safe for people of all ages, including children and seniors. They can also be made for almost any prescription. People with an exceptionally strong prescription that requires thick lenses may need to choose other materials for their eyewear.
Trivex lenses are particularly well-suited to people who spend a lot of time outdoors. Their high durability and built-in UV protection make them perfect for protecting your eyes during work or play.
Many corrective eyewear brands offer lenses made from Trivex. The following are some of the most popular:
- Zeiss produces a range of Trivex products, including single vision lenses, progressive lenses and wraparound lenses.
- Essilor’s Varilux progressive lenses are made from Trivex. The material’s crystal-clear optics are a big part of what makes this line unique.
- Hoya’s Phoenix lenses are made from a type of Trivex invented specifically for use by this company.
- Younger Optics’ Trilogy line is a set of thin, lightweight Trivex lenses that the company claims offer superior visual crispness and clarity.
Trivex lenses cost around $200 for regular lenses and $400 for progressive lenses. However, costs depend on your location and prescription.
Yu can expect to pay slightly more for Trivex lenses than you would for polycarbonate lenses with the same prescription. Trivex is rarely covered by vision insurance, so you will usually pay these costs out of pocket.
Are Trivex lenses worth it?
Trivex lenses offer several advantages over glass or polycarbonate lenses, including higher durability, UV protection and clearer vision. Only you can decide if these advantages are worth the additional cost.
What are the benefits of Trivex lenses?
- Are scratch-resistant and extremely durable
- Are shatterproof
- Are thin and lightweight
- Provide full UV protection
- Offer clearer vision than lenses made from other materials
Which is better, polycarbonate or Trivex?
Trivex and polycarbonate are very similar in most respects, but Trivex has a few advantages that make it the superior material. Choose Trivex if you want exceptionally clear vision and highly durable lenses and can afford to pay slightly more for your glasses.
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Mechanical properties of protective spectacles fitted with corrective lenses. (October 13, 2016). International Journal of Occupational Safety and Economics.
Dispensing Trivex, The Decathlete of Lens Materials. (July 2013). 20/20 Magazine.
The Visual Effect of Off Optical Center Viewing on Visual Acuity Through Trivex, Polycarbonate and CR-39 Spectacle Lenses. (2003). American Academy of Optometry.
Last Updated July 1, 2022
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