Photochromic Lenses

Photochromic lenses benefit almost every patient. They provide just the right amount of protection with varying light conditions. They're a great solution for people who are constantly changing their eyeglasses to sunglasses throughout the day. And most of all, they absorb 100% of UV radiation that can damage the eyes, especially from collective exposure throughout one's life.

A Broad Portfolio of Photochromic Lenses


The ideal plastic photochromic lens! The new ChangeRx delivers performance comparable to or better than the bestselling lenses, at a price point that brings healthier margins. Indoor light transmission is comparable (89.1%) to standard clear plastic lenses. Darkens to an ISO Sunglasses Category 3 at 50˚ F in less than 60 seconds. Uniform tone throughout activation process 100% UVA and UVB protection. Lightweight comfort: 1.50 hard resin with 1.18 specific gravity. Affordable everyday pricing.

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New Transitions Signature VII lenses with Chromea7™ technology are Transitions Optical’s most responsive everyday adaptive lenses ever, providing a superior visual experience. Transitions Signature VII lenses are designed to quickly adapt from fully clear indoors to dark in the brightest sun. The lenses provide just the right amount of tint outdoors, offering a distinct advantage over regular clear lenses. They replace Transitions VI lenses as the optimal choice for maximum indoor clarity and responsiveness to UV outdoors.

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In any everyday environment—subway or street, playground or porch—the best-in-class technology of LifeRx light-responsive lenses permits a seamless flow from outdoors to indoors and back again. They make eyeglasses more versatile and provide 100% UV protection, reaching sunglasses tint in less than a minute. Our photochromic dye is formulated to fade back faster than leading photochromic lenses so there’s no more waiting. Our highly sensitized polycarbonate resin allows the dye to become crystal clear getting rid of the unwanted indoor tint.

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There are clear lenses that can darken. There are sunglasses that are polarized. But never before have everyday eyeglass lenses been able to both darken and polarize in bright, outdoor light. Until now. The traditional Transitions lenses now have added variable polarization — polarization that increases as the lenses get darker. As Transitions Vantage lenses get darker, the polarization increases. And that means one's vision gets crisper and sharper. Alternatively, as the lenses get lighter, the polarization decreases at the same time.

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Fast dark. Fast clear. PhotoFusion® lenses adapt quickly to changing light conditions. The high- and mid-index lenses react up to 2 times faster* from dark to clear and up to 20% faster* from clear to dark than previous photochromic lenses by ZEISS.

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Varilux® Transitions® XTRActive™ lenses are the perfect fit for active patients. They deliver the sharpest vision in both indoor and bright outdoor conditions, while providing visual comfort throughout the day. A new choice in natural vision, Transitions XtraActive provides natural vision in all light conditions, are darker outdoors than any other everyday Transitions® lens, and activates moderately behind a windshield **

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PhotoViews should be your go-to option for price-conscious patients that are ready for photochromic lenses. An incredible advance over the previous generation of photochromic lenses like SunSensors, it offers better all-around performance with 8x faster fade time and full direct UV protection.

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How Exactly Does a Photochromic Lens Work?

Photochromic lenses are eyeglass lenses that are clear (or nearly clear) indoors and darken automatically when exposed to sunlight. Other terms sometimes used for photochromic lenses include "light-adaptive lenses" and "variable tint lenses."

The most popular brand of photochromic lenses sold in the United States are Transitions Lenses  (Transitions Optical). Because of this, some people — including some eye care practitioners — refer to photochromic  lenses as "transitions lenses" or "transition lenses." But there are other brands of photochromic lenses available as well.

The molecules responsible for causing photochromic lenses to darken are activated by the sun's ultraviolet radiation.  Because UV rays penetrate clouds, photochromic lenses will darken on overcast days as well as sunny days.

Photochromic lenses typically will not darken inside a vehicle because the windshield glass blocks most UV rays. Recent advancements in technology allow some photochromic lenses to activate with both UV and visible light, providing some darkening behind the windshield. Ask your optician for details.

Photochromic lenses are available in nearly all lens materials and designs, including high-index lenses, bifocals and progressive lenses. An added benefit of photochromic lenses is that they shield your eyes from 100 percent of the sun's harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Because a person's lifetime exposure to sunlight and UV radiation has been associated with cataracts later in life, it's a good idea to consider photochromic lenses for children's eyewear as well as for eyeglasses for adults. Polycarbonate is the safest lens material for kids, providing up to 10 times the impact resistance of other lens materials.

Though photochromic lenses cost more than clear eyeglass lenses, they offer the convenience of reducing the need to carry a pair of prescription sunglasses with you everywhere you go.

* Source: Global consumer study for Carl Zeiss Vision International July 2010, based on national representative samples in US, Brazil, Germany, Italy, UK, Australia and China.
**Activation level is dependent on windshield shape/inclination and position of the driver.

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