Photochromic lenses: Transition Lenses

Photochromic lenses

Photochromic lenses are an advanced lens technology, that causes your lenses to turn darker when you’re outdoors, exposed to UV light and turn lighter when you are indoors. Today, you can choose from a wide range of photochromic lenses in glasses and sunglasses with different shapes and colours. We breakdown what photochromic lenses are and whether they are a good option for your lifestyle.

What are photochromic lenses?

Photochromic lenses, also known as light-adaptive lenses, are eyeglass lenses that automatically darken when exposed to bright, natural sunlight that emits UV light. The lenses are clear or light inside and turn dark outside. They can be made from glass, polycarbonate and plastic lenses.

They are an ideal choice for your everyday lifestyle, whether you’re inside or outside, these lenses are the single solution for any daily situations.

How do photochromic lenses work?

Photochromic lenses change in colour when activated by UV rays (ultraviolet radiation). The UV rays from the sun affect molecules in the lenses, prompting them to change colour and automatically darken as they absorb the sunlight. You can even expect the lenses to darken on cloudy days as UV light still penetrates through.

They adapt through to different darker shades, depending on the levels of UV light. The darkening can take up to 30 seconds for the tint to take effect on the glasses once you’re outdoors, and it can take between two to five minutes to return to normal when going back indoors.

Photochromic glasses

Photochromic lenses advantages


You don’t need to carry sunglasses with you if you have the photochromic technology built into your prescription glasses.

Comfort and protection

  • Less glare means reduced eye strain and eye fatigue.
  • Over-exposure to UV can also put you at risk of developing cataracts. They offer 100% UV protection and block UVA/UVB light.
  • Protecting your eyes in this digital era is important and these lenses even block blue light which is known for contributing towards digital eye strain and sleep loss.
  • Ideal for those with sensitive eyes.


You save money by purchasing the one pair of glasses, without having to buy prescription sunglasses and sunglasses separately.


You can buy them in any colour or style and meet your prescription needs at the same time.

Photochromic lenses disadvantages

Depending on light conditions, some lenses take longer to adjust and change in the light than others. This can get in the way of vigorous sports activities, so you’ll need to consider this for sports sunglasses. The lenses also won’t change colour inside of your car as your windscreen has UV blockage.

Photochromic transition lenses

How dark do photochromic lenses get?

Photochromic lenses can darken to anywhere between 60-80% in bright, natural sunlight.

What is the difference between photochromic lenses and transition lenses?

A photochromic lens is also known as transition lenses. They change in colour when exposed to bright sunlight. Transitions also known as Transitions Signature is the most popular photochromic brand due to their advanced technology and lens development.

What is the difference between photochromic and polarised lenses?

Photochromic and polarised lenses are not the same. Photochromic lenses transition and adapt to lighting, whereas polarised lenses block light and are permanently tinted, without changing in colour.

Whilst, photochromic lenses can be ideal for everyday use, polarised lenses are great for driving. This is because they reduce horizontal glare, providing optimum visual comfort and contrast.

How to test photochromic lenses?

You can test your photochromic glasses by simply putting them on and going outside, especially on a bright, sunny day. You will notice them immediately darken. Once you go back inside, you’ll then notice them go back to clear or light shade after a few minutes.

If you need any help with buying glasses online with photochromic lens technology or not sure what type of lens you need, don't hesitate to contact us.



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