What Are Transition Lenses Good For?

Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy the sunshine without the hassle of carrying multiple eyeglasses? One for reading, another for distance, and yet another one for shielding against UV rays. That’s exactly what glasses with transition lenses do – all in one.

Transitions lenses also known as adaptive lenses or photochromic lenses completely block UVA and UVB rays. When exposed to UV light, such as when outdoors, these lenses darken, and when indoors, the lenses restore to their clear state. Transition lenses are more than just a coating; they are specially made to safeguard the wearer from the damaging effects of UV rays, primarily outside, but increasingly inside as well, where artificial lighting can pose damage.

Did you know the term "Transition lenses" is a registered trademark of Essilor, one of the world’s largest lens manufacturers? Several other brands of "transition lens" available provides the same features. However, in this article, we'll use the word "transition" for convenience and appropriateness and not as a reference to the brand.

This article analyzes the pros and cons of transition lenses to explore their benefits and help you understand if these lenses type eyeglasses are ideal for you or not.

What Are Transition Lenses?

According to research, long-term, unprotected exposure to sunlight can cause age-related conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye conditions that can impair healthy vision. Most eye care professionals now advise people to protect their eyes from UV exposure at all times, beginning at a young age.

It’s no secret that spending time in the sun can be bad for your skin. From premature aging to photo-aging, UV rays are responsible for a lot of damage to our skin. While hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen are helpful accessories against this damage, nothing is as convenient that absorbing or blocking harmful light exposure as glasses with transition lenses.

Transition lenses begin as normal clear prescription lenses when indoors or at night, but darken to shade the eyes when exposed to UV rays from the sun. The lenses adapt to the amount of sunlight present; a little amount of sunray results in a pale tint, whereas full, direct sunlight completely darkens them. When the light source is low or interrupted, they return to their original state.

How Do Transition Lenses Work?

Transition lenses contain patented photochromic dyes that activate or darken the lens when exposed to ultraviolet rays from sunlight. Inversely, the lenses fade back as the UV light fades.

Technically, these lenses are made of silver halide and chloride molecules that change structure when exposed to UV rays from the sun. When the structure of trillions of molecules changes at the same time, the surface layer of the lens makes it appear to darken.

The level of tint on the lenses adjusts as light conditions change, providing appropriate shade at the right time. Transitions lenses provide constant UV protection in both clear and darkened states and are truly superior technology.

Transitions lenses adapt with every variation of light; they help you optimize your vision by reducing glare, improving your ability to distinguish objects of varying intensity of brightness and contrast, and allowing you to see better in all light conditions.

Benefits of Transition Lenses

Transitions lenses are ideal if you want more than what clear lenses can provide. Unlike clear lenses, these lenses have added advantages over them. They are clear indoors but darken in direct sunlight. When the light conditions change, the lenses quickly adjust to provide the appropriate level of tint. This will eliminate the need to carry sunglasses if you wear clear lenses eyewear.

Eye Protection

We quite often fall into the trap of disregarding despite apparent minor eye discomfort. Consequently, in the case of UV, this minor discomfort can lead to serious eye-health issues.

Eye health must be prioritized alongside body and skin health. Because eye damage can sometimes be irreversible, wearing a transition lens is an excellent way to keep your eyes healthy.


Transition lenses and clear lenses may more or less work similarly when used inside a vehicle. Windshields in today's vehicles block a majority of the UV rays that activate or darken the lenses. As a result, transition lenses, like clear lenses, do not entirely activate inside a vehicle.

There are, however, specialized lenses available, such as Transitions® XTRActive® lenses, which react to visible light and darken moderately behind the windshield.

Furthermore, there are adaptive sunglasses and shields designed to improve your vision while participating in outdoor sports or activities. This includes Transitions® Drivewear® sun lenses with comprehensive polarization and photochromic technology that reacts to visible light to provide a more enjoyable driving experience.

Prevents Blue Light

With more people spending time on computers, televisions, tablets, and smartphones, transition lenses can aid with blue light blocking. These lenses will also be helpful when you may require a combination of light-blocking features in your lenses. As technology advances, these lenses become more sophisticated to deal with our digital lives.

Anywhere Anytime  

They can be worn anywhere that regular clear lenses can be worn all day, every day. Transitions lenses allow you to see more clearly indoors and outdoors, day and night. Rather than having to change your glasses every time the light changes, which is inconvenient when out shopping, hitting the slopes, or sun lounging, transition lenses make one pair of glasses work harder for you. Having a lens that can adapt precisely when needed even when watching TV or going to the movies, saves time, hassle, and money.

Pros and Cons of Transition Lenses


They automatically adapt to varying illumination with no effort on the wearer's part.

The lenses are available in two distinct colors: brown and gray. Both styles work the same way, and the color is entirely up to personal preference.

There are various photochromic lens designs available in prescription and non-prescription glasses, as well as a wide range of applications such as single vision, bifocals, trifocals, and progressives.

They can also be found with high index, standard, and shatterproof lenses.

Transitions lenses work with various lens options and treatments, including anti-reflective (AR) coatings, scratch-resistant coatings, and edge polish, which remove the frosted look from lens edges.

There are transition lenses in almost every lightweight lens material and design, and they are completely compatible with anti-reflective coatings.

These lenses offer complete UVA and UVB protection, whether they are fully clear, fully tinted, or somewhere in between.

They only respond to ultraviolet light, so exposure to the majority of indoor or outdoor artificial lighting will not cause them to unintentionally darken.


They do not adapt immediately. When you first come into contact with sunlight, your eyes are exposed unshaded for a short time, and they remain shaded for some time when you enter a darkened room from the outside.

The transition will not be as instant as wearing sunglass. While the majority of the transition occurs in the first minute, it can take up to fifteen minutes for transition lenses to fully darken and another fifteen minutes to restore to a clear state.

The majority of modern vehicle windshields are made to block ultraviolet light. As a result, transition lenses rarely darken completely when worn inside a vehicle. To achieve a comfortable level of darkness while driving, you may need to wear a separate pair of sunglasses or clip-on.

When exposed to cold temperatures, these lenses become darker than when exposed to warm temperatures.

Most transition lenses are not polarized. So, even if you are shielded from UV rays, you can still cause damage to your eyes as you fail to respond to glare.


As you can see, the pros outweigh the cons with transition lenses, which justify their popularity and widespread use. These lenses are both economical and convenient. Advanced technology will make it adapt to light faster, be clearer indoors, darker outside, and last longer. But, if you are outside most of the time, then an additional pair of sunglasses would always be handy, in case the photochromic lenses provide a lesser or slower shade effect.

However, only you know what is best for you. Whether or not you purchase transition lenses eyeglasses, Sojos Vision has thousands of eyewear options for your lenses, suiting your convenience, style, and budget.