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Glasses or specs, more formally known as eyeglasses or spectacles, are frames bearing lenses worn in front of the eyes, normally for vision correction, eye protection, or for protection from UV rays.
Modern glasses are typically supported by pads on the bridge of the nose and by temples placed over the ears. Historical types include the pince-nez, monocle, and lorgnette.
Eyeglass frames are commonly made from metal or plastic. Lenses were originally made from glass, but many are now made from various types of metal plastic, including CR-39 and polycarbonate. These materials reduce the danger of breakage and weigh less than glass lenses. Some plastics also have more advantageous optical properties than glass, such as better transmission of visible light and greater absorption of ultraviolet light. Some plastics have a greater index of refraction than most types of glass; this is useful in the making of corrective lenses shaped to correct various vision abnormalities such as myopia, allowing thinner lenses for a given prescription. Newer plastic lenses, called izon, can also correct for the higher order aberrations that naturally occur in the surface of our eye. These lenses create sharper vision and help with the halos, starbursts, and comet-tails often associated with night time driving glare. Wavefront guided LASIK surgery also corrects for the higher order aberrations.
Scratch-resistant coatings can be applied to most plastic lenses giving them similar scratch resistance to glass. Hydrophobic coatings designed to ease cleaning are also available, as are anti-reflective coatings intended to reduce glare, improve night vision and make the wearer's eyes more visible.
CR-39 lenses are the most common plastic lenses due to their low weight, high scratch resistance, and low transparency for ultra violet and infrared radiation. Polycarbonate and Trivex lenses are the lightest and most shatter-resistant, making them the best for impact protection, yet offer poor optics due to high dispersion, and having a low Abbe number of 31.
Not all glasses are designed solely for vision correction but are worn for protection, viewing visual information (such as stereoscopy) or simply just for aesthetic or fashion values. Safety glasses are a kind of eye protection against flying debris or against visible and near visible light or radiation. Sunglasses allow better vision in bright daylight, and may protect against damage from high levels of ultraviolet light.