Abbe Values

Crown Glass 1.523 59
High Index Glass 1.60 42
High Index Glass 1.70 39
Plastic CR-39 1.49 58
Mid Index Plastic 1.54 47
Mid Index Plastic 1.56 36
High Index Plastic 1.60 36
High Index Plastic 1.66 32
Trivex 1.53 43
Polycarbonate 1.58 30

Chromatic aberration is when white light is broken up into component colors. A color fringe may be noted around a light source or around an object. In reality, most patients never complain of color fringes but rather complain of blurriness and peripheral distortion.

Note that crown glass has the highest ABBE number (least aberration) and polycarbonate has the lowest ABBE number (most aberration). The higher index of refraction means a denser material and therefore a thinner lens. Cosmetically, thin lenses appear more attractive but have more aberration. They also cost more. High index glass has more aberration than standard crown glass.

Different manufacturers may have a different ABBE VALUE for the same exact lens. Patients might have experienced a previous pair of eyeglasses provided better vision when they thought there were no changes in prescription or type of lens material with their new pair.

Polycarbonate lenses are used extensively for safety eyewear such as in for shooting glasses and has the most aberration. Keep in mind that most may see just as well with a low ABBE VALUE lens as compared to a high ABBE VALUE lens.

Crown glass is most commonly used for eyeglass lenses with an index of refraction of 1.523. There are however, 50 glass formulations used today for various optical applications, all with its unique properties.

Ernst Abbe was a brilliant German mathematician and physicist. Carl Zeiss was so impressed with Ernst Abbe that he was hired by Zeiss in 1866 and later became the owner of the company.