Should I get Transition lenses?

It sounds like they won’t work for me. I do have different prescriptions for each eye, and since they don’t work in the car, they’re pretty pointless.

My two eyes are different, I don’t know how much different you are talking about, but they make high index lenses now, and the thickness of my lenses is not apparently different and the darkness (when they’re dark) is the same.

My husband has them and they do change pretty quickly, however they don’t work in the car so he also has to have the clip on sunglasses too. Because of that, I kind of think it’s a waste of money.

I can’t give you my exact prescription, because I’m not well versed in opti-speak. Suffice to say that one of my lenses is a negative number, and the other one is a positive number. And it is such a difference, the optician usually gets out a red pen and circles the numbers, so the lab understands that the differential is NOT a mistake.

The smaller lenses used today do help reduce the thickness, but if one lens is noticeably thicker than the other, there is a good chance there will be a difference in darkening capability.

And again, I was told that I wouldn’t notice the difference, but people looking AT me would see one lens darker than the other.

Something to be discussed with the optical dispenser.

Funny story. I’m a lawyer in the sub tropics. It’s common to walk to court. Transitions lenses of course change gradually enough that you tend not to realise they have gone dark.

So I’m up at court waiting for my matter to come on. A young lawyer rushes in, no doubt having walked (or run) to court and his matter comes on straight away. The courts are very well air conditioned (to the point of being positively cold). The judge (who is known for being somewhat irrascible) comes in and this young lawyer stands up to speak only to be interrupted and bawled out for wearing his sunglasses in court, complete with comments about how “this isn’t some American TV show you know” and “do you think you are too cool to take your sunglasses off” etc.

Poor guy. He of course had totally forgotten that his transitions lenses had gone dark, and in the air conditioning, remained that way.

Echoing the downsides listed above with one to add. If you walk outside a lot, the transitions will darken up on cloudy days, since it’s only UV light that triggers the change. This will make you look like, well, the sort of person that wears sunglasses on a cloudy day.

Former (but longtime) optical dispenser here.

The above is only true of glass photochromics (i.e. Photogrey).

Transitions lenses are made using processes called Imbibition (for plastic) and Trans-Bonding (for polycarb and high index). The photochromic material is embedded in the front surface of the lens to a uniform thickness. You can actually see this if you look at the edge of an darkened lens. (That’s would be why** Bridget Burke** thought it looked like a coating was coming off the edges in a rimless frame.)

If the lenses don’t darken the same, it’s not because of thickness. Either one lens is defective, or one of them is older than the other.

I’ve had 'em twice and hated 'em both times. There were many years in between attempts and the technology had improved, but I still hated 'em.

•They don’t get dark enough, especially in really bright areas like the beach.
•They’re not polarized.
•The lenses had to be heavier and thicker than non-Transition lenses.
•They don’t work in the car.
•They took too long for my taste to transition back and forth.
•There always seems to be a very subtle yellow color to the lenses. ’

I recently got my first pair of progressives. While I was at it, I got another pair of single-focal-point plain old polarized prescription shades, in super dark black. I won’t be going back to try Transitions ever again.

I work for Transitions Optical and want to correct a few of the misconceptions about our branded products. Like other technologies, Transitions brand lenses have evolved over the last decade. Unlike other photochromics and, similar to staining a piece of wood, the photochromic molecules in Transitions lenses—through proprietary processes—are applied to the lens in a process that makes the molecules a part of the lens. This process prevents a Transitions lens from peeling or cracking. This process also does not make the lens feel heavier or cause a thicker lens to react differently than a thin lens. We are coating the surface of the lens and the surface space is the same regardless of the lens thickness.

As for performance, original Transitions brand lenses are as clear as a clear lens indoors (no yellow tinting) and are activated by UV light. Visit our website ( to learn more about performance, including what influences performance. In 2010 we introduced Transitions XTRActive lenses which is our darkest photochromic lens outdoors and, is also activated by visible light which allows it to moderately activate behind the windshield of a car, and for those seeking for polarization, in May of this year we will launch Transitions Vantage lenses, the first ever—in the world-- photochromic lens with variable polarization. Both of these products are available in the US and Canada from any independent eyecare professional and select retailers.

When you purchase Transitions lenses, please ask your eyecare professional for a Certificate of Authenticity. This is the only way to guarantee you are getting authentic Transitions lenses and not another brand of photocrhomics. Hopefully this helps clarify some of the comments. I’m happy to answer any additional questions.

Oooh! Oooh! Me! How will the polarized photochromic work? Won’t they appear to be tinted because of the polarized film?

Unlike traditional polarized lenses that use a film to create the polarized lens, Transitions Vantage lenses use the photocrhomic molecules to create a lens with variable polarization. Indoors, the lens is virtually clear and unpolarized and outdoors, as UV exposure increases, the lens darkens and the amount of polarization increases. The combination of these technologies provide the wearer with a crisper, sharper vision experience.

Sounds exciting. Things like this almost make me want to go back into optical.

Too late to edit, but I should have asked: Will they (Transitions Vantage) be available in a progressive?

It is pretty exciting, especially when you start to learn all of the science behind what it takes to create a non-film polarized lens that is also a photochromic lens. Availability will be limited at first but will include a digital progressive.

Also depends on what you do for a living. A colleague of Mr. HP had them in the OR, and they wouldn’t lighten up. So he spent the day administering anesthesia in shades. Not as cool as it sounds.

If your eyes are sensitive to light I think they’re a good idea. I never had a problem with them changing back and forth but IIRC they never became 100% clear, so I’d pick a tint I could live with, even tho the shading is slight. By now, tho, they could be improved so that they are totally clear. I’d ask.

hey are the Transition Vantage Lenses really available to the consumers in May? I just came back from Lenscrafters and i told them i wanted polarized transition lenses. Well on my receipt, it say Transition Vantage Grey. are these the vantage lenses? did lenscrafters received it first?


Turn them sideways and look through them at another polarized lens (while they’re darkened). If they’re actually polarized the other lens will appear opaque.

LensCrafters was amongst a few select retail and independent eyecare professionals to carry the product in advance of the May launch. Hopefully you are enjoying them!