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What Are Plano Lenses?

What Are Plano Lenses?

By Anna Barden  

What Does Plano Mean in Glasses? 

“Plano” is a term used to describe glasses lenses that do not have any prescription or magnifying power. You can buy plano glasses without a written prescription from online and in-person retailers, eyewear boutiques, optical practices, and other locations.  


Sunglasses and eyeglasses are both available with plano lenses. 

What Is a Plano Lens Used For? 

Whether you wear contact lenses or you don’t need vision correction, plano lenses can be beneficial for the following reasons: 


  • Plano-lens sunglasses can be worn with corrective contact lenses to block ultraviolet (UV) rays and shade your eyes from bright sunlight. 

  • Some types of non-prescription lenses may be helpful for people with light sensitivity. This includes light-adaptive (photochromic) lenses and specially tinted lenses designed to provide migraine relief. 

  • One plano lens may be used in a pair of eyeglasses if a person only needs vision correction in one eye. 

  • Plano lenses are often used in safety glasses and goggles, which offer protection from chemicals, debris, and injury when used. 

  • Non-prescription glasses can be worn as a fashion accessory or as part of a costume if the occasion calls for them. 


When you try on glasses at an eyewear boutique or optical practice, the lenses you look through are clear plano lenses. If you find a pair you like and need to correct nearsightedness or farsightedness, the frames can be ordered with new lenses in your prescription. 


Plano lenses also make up part of some multifocal lenses. For example, some bifocal-style lenses may include a clear (or plano) portion at the top of the lenses and a magnified portion at the bottom. The clear section lets you see distant objects without aid, while the magnified section gives you the help you need to see up-close objects clearly. 

Does Plano Mean I Don't Need Glasses? 

Plano means non-prescription correction — but it doesn’t mean that you don’t need glasses. 


However, it is possible to only need vision correction in one eye. If this is the case for you, your vision prescription will include one prescription lens and one plano lens.  


It’s also possible to use plano lenses and still need corrective lenses. Some examples of this include non-prescription sunglasses, and fashion eyeglasses (also called fake glasses). Each of these styles can be worn along with (or over) prescription contact lenses, which many people choose to do for one reason or another. 

Are Plano Lenses Safe? 

Plano lenses are not harmful to your eyes. Wearing a plano lens is like looking through plain plastic or glass, which doesn’t compromise your vision.  


There are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing non-prescription glasses, though.  


Some eyeglasses and sunglasses with plano lenses can be cheaply made, and they may break more easily than higher-end plano glasses. Be sure to provide the proper care for any eyewear if you want them to last! 


Another thing to consider is UV protection. Dark-lens sunglasses may help shade your eyes, but a darker tint does not guarantee UV protection. Look for shades labelled UV400 and as providing or 100% UVA-UVB lens protection to ensure your eyes are adequately protected. 


If objects start to appear blurry up close or far away, it’s a good idea to see an optician for an eye test. It’s possible you need vision correction and could benefit from prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses. When you have your eye test, you can speak with your optician about your options. 


READ NEXT: What Glasses & Sunglasses Suit My Face?  



  1. Non-prescription sunglasses: What to know before buying. All About Vision. February 2019.* 
  2. Non-prescription glasses: What to know before buying them. All About Vision. February 2021.* 
  3. Do blue light glasses work? Cleveland Clinic. October 2021. 
  4. Safety glasses and protective eyewear. All About Vision. February 2019.* 
  5. Guide to bifocal reading glasses. Accessed March 2024.* 
  6. Glasses for one eye. Essilor. Accessed March 2024.* 
  7. Fake eyeglasses: What they are and why they’re trending. All About Vision. August 2019.* 
  8. UV and sunglasses: How to protect your eyes. All About Vision. March 2019.*  


The sources listed here have been provided for informational purposes only. The citation of a particular source does not constitute an endorsement or approval of EssilorLuxottica products, services, or opinions by such source.  


*Like Foster Grant, All About Vision, AAV Media, LLC,, and Essilor are affiliates of EssilorLuxottica.