What To Know Before Buying Transition Lenses

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Transition lenses are perfect for scenarios during which light conditions might change, and their light-responsive trick helps you to adapt to your environment. With transition lenses, you don’t have to carry different glasses frames, and you can wear these lenses all day, every day. So, if you regularly interchange your activities from outdoors to indoors, take advantage of the many benefits of transition lenses.

Transition lenses feature light-sensitive molecules that shift their structure when exposed to UV light, transforming the lenses from clear to dark. Benefits include reduced eye strain and blue light advantage. Transition lenses offer 100% UV protection, keeping you safe from cataracts.

Transition lenses can be included in the frames of your taste, giving you complete styling freedom. They can also transform to colors other than gray, leaving you with a styling choice. Read on to learn the science behind the transformation of photochromic lenses and their benefits and drawbacks.

What are Transition Lenses?

Female Eyeglasses

Transition lenses, also known as adaptive or photochromic lenses, look like regular clear glasses when indoors but automatically darken when you move into a brighter area.

With its unique adaptive design, photochromic lenses (on Amazon) eliminate the need for sunglasses offering convenience for people who wear eyeglasses full time.

These lenses offer 100% UVA and UVB protection in their clear and dark states. Even on overcast days, transition lenses darken because UV rays still pass through the clouds.

What are the Benefits of Transition Lenses?

Here are the main benefits of transition lenses:

  • Reduced Eye Strain: Transition lenses eliminate the glare you encounter when outdoors. They also reduce the eyestrain you experience whenever you move to a brighter area.  
  • Enjoy Convenience: Avoid constantly switching between prescription sunglasses and sunglasses with transition lenses. This convenience alone makes investing in transition lenses well worth it.
  • Save Money: Although transition lenses can be more expensive than most sunglasses, they are conveniently two-in-one, meaning you don’t have to invest in sunglasses.
  • Blue light Advantage: Filter more blue light from screens using photochromic lenses.
  • Durability: These lenses remain effective throughout their natural lifespan with embedded photochromic molecules.

How Do Transition Lenses Work?

Photochromic lenses feature light-sensitive molecules that shift their structure when exposed to UV light, enabling them to absorb more sunlight and transform the lenses from transparent to dark appearance. Once the UV light disappears, this process reverses, thus clearing your lenses.

The photochromic molecules react to both the presence and amount of natural light, and they quickly change their structure when exposed to a lot of light and more slowly in low-light conditions. This is why transition lenses don’t darken a lot in the shade.

How Quickly Do Transitions Darken?

When exposed to UV light, transition lenses take an average of 30-60 seconds to darken. To clear, the process takes a bit longer—an average of 2-3 minutes.

The temperature determines the rate at which the lenses clear or darken up. The lenses darken more fully in cold weather but take time to clear up. On a warmer day, they don’t darken quite fully but clear up faster since their molecules are more reactive.

Do Transition Lenses Wear Out?

In the long run, your transition lenses will become less reactive to UV light, and switching between their two versions will need longer. When you see your lenses turning yellow, it signals time for a new pair.

What are Their Downsides?

Depending on your needs, these lenses can also have the following disadvantages:

  • It Takes Time to Activate: Their temperature sensitivity determines the transition time. In some instances, they take time to activate. For example, some people find the instant swap to regular sunglasses more efficient.
  • Driving Experience: Modern car windshields and tints feature UV-blocking properties, so your transition lenses will likely not darken while driving.
  • Not Dark Enough: Transition lenses are great since they block out UV light and shield your eyes against glare. Unfortunately, these lenses may not be adequate for someone with light sensitivity issues.

Do Transition Lenses Offer UV Protection?

Portrait of a beauty woman wearing eyeglasses

UV light can severely damage your eyes, whether from artificial UV rays or natural light. With increased levels of UV light penetrating the earth, protecting your eyes is essential.

Transition lenses feature 100% UV protection, keeping away a large amount of the dangerous UV rays emitted by the sun.

Both short and long-term exposure to UV radiation can compromise your overall eye health. Here are eye diseases and conditions resulting or aggravated by exposure to UV light:

  • Cataracts: Cataracts refer to a condition where the eye’s natural lens is clouded. The eye lens is that part of the eye that focuses the light you see. Exposure to UV radiation, particularly UV-B rays, heightens your risk of developing cataracts.
  • Macular Degeneration: Long-term exposure to UV light can cause macular degeneration (AMD). Damage to the retina causes AMD and is the leading cause of age-related blindness.
  • Pterygium: Also known as “surfers eye,” Pterygium is a colored non-cancerous growth that occurs over the white of the eye. Exposure to UV light is believed to be a reason for the development of Pterygium.
  • Photokeratitis: Often called “snow blindness,” photokeratitis results from extreme short-term exposure to UV-B rays. This condition can be painful and can lead to temporary blindness. Therefore, only spend long hours at the beach with proper eye gear.
  • Skin Cancer: Prolonged exposure to UV light can lead to skin cancer in and around your eyelids.

Can Transition Lenses Be Polarized?

Absolutely. These two technologies can be combined to deliver a sharper vision and safe outdoor wear. In addition, photochromic polarized lenses offer high protection in extra-glare situations.

If worn indoors, the glasses will be transparent with a hint of tint. When used outdoors, they can attain a polarization efficiency of up to 90 percent, similar to polarized glasses.

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