Transition lenses and prescription sunglasses: main advantages, disadvantages, and differences

Transition lenses 

Glasses with transition lenses change their color, adjusting to the lighting conditions: in bright light, they darken, and in a dark room they remain transparent. This effect is ensured by a special coating with photochromic properties. It is they react to UV, activating their protective properties and reducing light transmission. The degree of darkening of such lenses in some models reaches 85%.

Glasses with transition lenses combine the benefits of corrective and sun protection optics. This is very convenient for people with low vision who can’t protect their eyes on a sunny day because they have to wear corrective glasses. Also, transition lenses are recommended for people who suffer from eye diseases. 


Main advantages 

• “Two in one” – glasses with transition lenses make life easier for people who need vision correction. You no longer need to squint from the sun or wear sunglasses to the detriment of good visibility. Transition lenses provide both the necessary correction and protection from bright sunlight.

• Help for people with eye diseases and photosensitivity – transition lenses provide relief for people who suffer from diseases that cause increased sensitivity to light. Glasses that quickly adapt to changes in lighting effectively protect the eyes from pain and discomfort. 

• Special lenses for drivers – glasses with such lenses react not only to UV radiation but also to visible light, due to which the lenses darken even when not directly exposed to the sun.

Main disadvantages

• The degree and speed of darkening depend on the ambient temperature. The reaction is faster in warm weather and slower in cold weather. At temperatures above 30 °C, the lenses don’t darken completely, but by 90-95%, which can cause discomfort to residents of the southern regions. In the cold, on the contrary, the glasses give out their maximum, which is not always convenient when it is partly cloudy or walking through the forest with constantly changing lighting.

• Limited range of colors – unlike sun-protection and tinted optics, transition lenses have a small palette of possible dimming colors. 

• If you leave your glasses in an enclosed space in hot weather in direct sunlight in a car or on a window, the protective coating may be damaged.

Prescription sunglasses  

Most people who wear glasses often experience discomfort with the onset of sunny weather. This problem is especially true for people who drive a car or spend a lot of time outdoors. An excellent summer solution for people with low vision will be sunglasses with prescription lenses. These are glasses two in one: glasses for vision and sunglasses at the same time. In addition to providing a comfortable stay in the blinding sun, such glasses protect against harmful UV radiation and have several other advantages.

Why do we need prescription sunglasses if there are transition ones?

It would seem, that why would someone need a half solution if there is a complex one? But there are a few subtleties that you need to be aware of to make an informed decision.

• As mentioned above, transition lenses have residual tint. Not everyone likes it. Many people need the most transparent lenses.

• Not everyone is comfortable waiting for the lenses to darken / clear.

• Well, and most importantly, prescription sunglasses have much more options for colors, shades, tints, color combinations, and so on.

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