The Ultimate Guide to Transition Sunglasses: Are They Right for You?

For those seeking a hassle-free vision care option that combines regular glasses and sunglasses' functionalities, transition sunglasses can be an attractive choice. However, it's essential to be aware of the potential drawbacks of these lenses before committing to them. EyeCare Associates has put together this guide to help you determine if transition lenses are right for you. 

How Transition Sunglasses Are Different from Normal Glasses?

Transition sunglasses, also called photochromic sunglasses, have lenses that change from clear to dark in color. The lenses can darken and lighten because they are made with special dyes that chemically change when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. They'll even darken on overcast days due to the ability of UV rays to pass through clouds. In the early days of photochromic lenses, you could only have lenses that would darken to a gray color. Today’s advancements in photochromic lenses give you the ability to choose from a variety of darkening colors.

It’s common to hear others use the term "transition sunglasses," but this refers to a specific brand of photochromic glasses. Many other brands are available, each offering different advantages to their user.

The Pros of Photochromic Sunglasses

Photochromic sunglass lenses can provide many advantages to those who wear them. Do you think keeping track of more than one pair of glasses is too tricky? You may want to consider getting photochromic lenses. You’re less likely to lose your glasses with them since you only need to carry one pair.

Photochromic lenses also serve as an excellent option for children needing vision correction. They offer prescription lenses and UV protection in a single pair of glasses. Photochromic lenses' 2 in 1 functionality may also mean you save money when ordering your next pair of glasses. With this lens type, you’ll only need to buy one pair of glasses rather than two.  

The best advantage to wearing photochromic is that they protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. It’s been proven that too much UV light exposure can increase your risk of developing cataracts, making your eyesight cloudy.  Like a standard pair of prescription glasses, photochromic lenses can include prescriptions for correcting refractive errors (either nearsighted or farsighted) and those needing bifocals. 

Another benefit of wearing photochromic lenses is that you can use them while playing sports, thanks to their durable construction. These glasses are made from materials such as polycarbonate and Trivex, which are both lighter and more resistant to scratches than standard lens materials.

The Cons of Photochromic Sunglasses

Although photochromic lenses offer many benefits, they can also have some disadvantages. These are typically only minor inconveniences you may notice when switching to transition lenses. Not all types of these lenses perform as expected while inside a car. This is because your windshield usually has protection against UV rays. If you spend a lot of time in the car, talk to your doctor about the brands of photochromic lenses that can darken while inside your car

Some other factors that may impact your lenses’ performance can be the brand or external factors such as the temperature outside. Photochromic lenses can take longer to darken in cold weather. In addition to the weather, it may take some time for your lenses to transition. Some brands of lenses can take up to five minutes to fully darken when exposed to sunlight.  The degree to which the sunglasses darken often depends on the brand. Ask your eye doctor which brand may work best for your lifestyle.

Another problem some photochromic lens wearers experience is darkening in environments where you want them to remain clear. This can be especially frustrating when wearing them indoors, such as in an office with bright lighting. EyeCare Associates recommends discussing what you need in your prescription lenses with your eye doctor. Some of these cons may be avoidable with the right lens selection. 

Couple riding bikes on the beach smiling wearing prescription sunglasses uv protection

Tips for Getting Accustomed to Your New Photochromic Lenses

If you've decided to try this special type of sunglasses, you'll want to keep a few things in mind to get the most out of them:

  • Ask your eye doctor about the best way to clean them – you don’t want to use any solutions or materials that may cause scratches.

  • Avoid switching between your old glasses and your new ones to help with adjusting to your new transition lenses

  • Try wearing your new glasses for an hour or two a day at first and then gradually build up the amount of time you use them. 

  • Ask your eye doctor how long your sunglasses should darken properly. Many manufacturers state the transition feature will work for two years.

If you still have trouble getting used to your new glasses, try talking to your eye doctor. They can provide you with more tips for adjustment or assist with switching back to your old prescription lenses. 

Learn More About Photochromic Lenses at Your Local EyeCare Associates

Think switching to photochromic lenses is for you? Schedule a comprehensive eye exam at your local EyeCare Associates to learn more about the pros and cons of wearing transition lenses. Our skilled eye care professionals will work with you to determine what works best for you and your lifestyle. They will provide you with recommendations, renew your prescription, and evaluate your eye for any potentially harmful conditions. Find an EyeCare Associates location near you to schedule your appointment today!

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