Transition Lenses: What you need to know 

Some people love it some hate it. Why? They are basically a lens that turns dark outdoors and back into regular optical lenses indoors so it eliminates the hassle of carrying two pair of glasses. Transition lenses been growing in popularity recently in the eyewear field. But there are still people who don't think they are worth it.

The technical term for transition lens is photochromatic. The name "transition lenses" is actually trademarked by the Essilor company, (essilor logo) one of the largest lens company in the world, so calling it transition lens is like calling tissue paper "Kleenex" or calling making a photocopy "Xerox-ing it". For the sake of ease and familiarity we’ll use transition here. Just remember there are many other brands of “transition lens” out there including Hoya’s Sensity brand photochromatic lens. 

Hoya transition lens work when it changes from light to dark when exposed to UV light. If you want to get more technical, transition lens are covered in silver halide and chloride molecules that temporarily change their structure when when struck by the sun's UV rays. When the structure of trillions of molecules changes at the same time, the entire surface of the lens appears to darken. 

Now, lets get into the details of whether or not transition lens are worth it for you.

The pros are obvious: It’ll save you the hassle of carrying two frames (one regular glasses and a pair of sunglasses), another pro: the cost. A pair of sunglasses with prescription and tinting cost around 400 dollars assuming the average cost for the sunglasses frame is 200 dollars and the lens with tinting to be 100-200 dollars. A pair of eyeglasses with transition will cost you around 100-200 dollars extra on top of the cost of the frame you get.

It’s obviously more cost effective to get transition lenses. 

Though, there are some legitimate concerns for transition lens. One of them is that some people do not like how slowly the transition lenses changes colors. People do not want to be stuck wearing sunglasses indoors. Though, with recent advancement in transition technology, the few minutes that it takes to change colors have dropped significantly to a few seconds. When I am with a patient and trying to introduce transition lenses, I usually demonstrate it with my own frames, expose my lens to UV light, and even before my explanation, the lenses changes back to regular glasses. It’s that fast now.

I’ve actually timed how long my transition lenses change color and it clocked in at around 5 seconds to change from clear to dark and from dark to clear at around 1 minute. Which is not a long time. 

The second concern that people have about transition lenses is the scenario in which it changes colors. In a cloudy and overcast day, even though its not very sunny, UV light does get through so your transition lenses will change colors. Some people may not like that they look like they are wearing sunglasses in a day that is not sunny. Or have a semi tinted look all day long.

The third issue, is that if you drive, the windshield already have UV treatment that blocks UV light so you will still be exposed to sunlight but your eyeglasses will not change colors. This will be annoying because transition lean will not protect you from all the sunlight and glare coming from outside your car window while driving. 

Along with that some people who just like to change style. They like to convey a different look between sunglasses and glasses.

Would I recommend transition lenses? Definitely. It saves money and it’s convenient. New technological advancement for this lens will make it last longer, change colors faster, go clearer indoors, and darker when you are outside.(Add longer, faster, and darker text on screen as I say it) UV light is the leading cause of blindness through cataracts so it good to have a easy way to protect your eyes. 

If you drive for a living or have a long drive to work, I won’t recommend it and would say to get two pairs of glasses: one to stick in your car and one to wear indoors.

Have you tried transitions before? What do you think? Comment below.