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Transition Lenses

"Transition lenses" is a phrase that people use when they are talking about photochromic lenses - lenses that darken when exposed to ultraviolet light, such as when you walk outdoors. The most famous brand in this area is called Transitions lenses, a brand owned by Essilor, the world's largest prescription lenses maker. When you are no longer exposed to the effects of ultraviolet light, like when you walk back indoors, the lenses return to their clear state. Transitions® lenses also block 100% of harmful UVA and UVB rays. Many people love the convenience of transition lenses, because they can have the convenience of both regular glasses and transitions sunglasses in just one pair of prescription lenses.

Transitions® lenses begin to darken as soon as they are exposed to ultraviolet light. The greater the intensity of ultraviolet radiation, the darker the lenses become. The moment ultraviolet rays are no longer present, transition glasses lenses begin to fade back. Most wearers report the adjustment in photochromic glasses happens so smoothly that they are unaware of it.

Transitions 8 Lenses Review Video

Transition lenses are available for most prescriptions, and in most lens types. They are available in standard and high index lens materials, and they are typically available in either gray or brown, although there is limited availability in other specialty colors.. Transitions® lenses are also compatible with lens treatments and options such as anti-reflective coating, Crizal No Glare, bifocals, and progressives. Transition safety glasses are also a popular choice for professionals that are both indoors and outdoors in their jobs.

Transitions Lenses

Are Transition Lenses Good?

Transition lenses cost a bit more then regular eyeglasses. However, if you can use them both as regular glasses and as sunglasses, then you are saving a bundle of money. So, transition lenses are good in the sense that some people can use them very nicely in their lifestyle. Additionally, transition lenses naturally block all ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Many people routinely take precautions to protect their skin against UV rays but are unaware of the need to protect their eyes against ultraviolet damage.

Research indicates that long-term, unprotected exposure to the sunlight can lead to age-related conditions such as macular degeneration, cataracts and other eye conditions that can compromise healthy sight. Most eye care professionals now recommend that people protect their eyes against UV exposure at all times. Transitions® lenses block 100% of both UVA and UVB rays. In fact, Transitions® lenses are the first to earn the American Optometric Association (AOA) Seal of Acceptance for UV Absorbers/Blockers.

Also, because Transitions® lenses adjust to changing light conditions and reduce glare, they enhance the ability to discern objects of varying size, brightness and contrast, enabling you to see better in all light conditions.

Can Transition Lenses Replace Sunglasses?Transitions For Kids

Yes. Outdoors, Transitions® lenses automatically darken depending upon the amount of UV radiation present. The brighter the sun, the darker Transitions® lenses get, all the way to as dark as most sunglasses. So, they help enhance the quality of your vision by reducing the sun’s glare in different light conditions; on bright sunny days, on cloudy days and everything in between. Photochromic sunglasses are a great option.

Transitions® lenses react quickly to changing light and can become as dark as sunglasses outside in bright sunlight. As light conditions change, the level of tint adjusts to provide the right tint at the right time. This convenient photochromatic protection against glare is automatic. However, since extremely high temperatures tend to affect lens performance, original Transitions® lenses may not always get as dark as sunglasses. Also, since they are activated by UV exposure, original Transitions® lenses don’t work behind the windshield of a car since your windshield actually blocks UV rays.

Transitions® XTRActive™ Lenses

Transitions® XTRActive™ lenses were developed by Essilor as a solution to behind the windshield activation. Transition lenses typically will not get very dark in a car, because the windshield blocks the ultraviolet light which is necessary to activate the color change. Transitions® XTRActive™ lenses are not clear - they start at a light tint level - and then they darken further when exposed to ultraviolet light. Transitions® XTRActive™ lenses are the darkest everyday photochromic lenses on the market. They offer superior darkness in all temperatures, thus delivering excellent sun protection for those who spend a lot of time outdoors. In addition, these lenses offer a slight tint indoors and activate moderately behind the windshield of a car.

Transitions® Drivewear Lenses

Transitions® Drivewear Lenses are also designed for driving, but they function differently from Transitions® XTRActive™ lenses. Transitions® Drivewear Lenses are polarized to remove maximum glare; if you have not experienced the peace and tranquility offered by polarized lenses, you should try these lenses. Drivewear lenses have three different color tones depending on the conditions:

1) In low light and overcast conditions, they are a green/yellow color offering high contrast while outdoors or driving.

2) When behind the windshield of a car, Transitions® Drivewear lenses darken into a copper color.

3) In bright light and outdoor conditions, Transitions® Drivewear lenses change to a dark-reddish brown, which filters out excess light and provided increased protection from bright light.

How Do Transition Lenses Work?

Transitions® lenses contain special photochromic dyes that cause the lens to activate, or darken, when exposed to ultraviolet rays from sunlight. When the UV light diminishes, the light sensitivity glasses fade back. As light conditions change, the level of tint adjusts, offering the right tint at the right time. It’s important to note that the UV radiation blockage remains constant. Transitions® lenses provide automatic protection from UV radiation in both the clear and darkened states. Transitions® XTRActive™ lenses add the benefits of visible light activation in addition to UV light. This allows them to get darker than original Transitions® lenses, have improved hot weather performance, and activate behind the windshield of a car (which blocks UV light).

Transitions® lenses are as clear as clear lenses indoors, and as dark as most sunglasses outdoors in bright sunlight. As light conditions change, the lenses adjust quickly to provide the appropriate level of tint. They block 100% of UVA and UVB rays, providing convenient protection from UV radiation.

Author of this article: 

Mark Agnew, AuthorMark Agnew
CEO of Eyeglasses.com, which he founded in 1999.  For over twenty years, he has educated consumers, improved their vision choices, and reduced costs in eyewear.  Mark authored The Eyeglasses Buying Guide, the most comprehensive and best-selling glasses buying guide in the world.

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