HomeBlogSingle Vision Transition Lenses 101

Glasses with single vision transition lenses are for people who are nearsighted or farsighted. Transition lenses—also known as photochromic lenses, light adjusting lenses, or by the brand name Transitions—change from normal glasses indoors, to tinted sunglasses outdoors. Since they change automatically when exposed to light, they are ideal for those who spend the day constantly moving inside and outside and have a need for prescription eyewear in variable light conditions.

Do I need single vision transition lenses?

If you need vision correction and also enjoy tinted lenses outdoors, then you may want to consider getting glasses with photochromic lenses. Single vision lenses have one power, meaning they’re not bifocals or progressive lenses.

For people who work or generally spend a lot of time outside and like to wear tinted lenses, then glasses with photochromic lenses can be a good solution. They provided tinted lenses in sunny conditions, helping to reduce glare and prevent eye fatigue caused by bright sunlight.

single vision transition lenses

Symmetry, in Translucent and Black

How do transition lenses work?

Light adaptive lenses are made with materials that change at the molecular level when exposed to UV light. The molecules move and rearrange themselves based on the amount of ultraviolet light exposure. The more ultraviolet light a photochromic lens is exposed to, the darker it will become. And the reverse is true, the less UV light single vision transition lenses are exposed to, the lighter they become.

So, how long does it take for a photochromic lens to change? On average, transition lenses can take around forty-five seconds to completely darken in direct sunlight and can take up to a minute and a half to readjust to clear once you’re back inside. Since these changes are happening on a molecular level, extreme temperatures can affect the rate of change.

What are the pros and cons of transition lenses?

One of the main advantages of having glasses with single vision transition lenses is that it can eliminate your need to carry around an extra pair of sunglasses or clip-on tinted lenses. All you need to do is put your glasses on in the morning and you’re set for the rest of your day, no matter whether you’re inside or outside. Having a single pair of glasses that you can use as sunglasses as well can also save you money, especially if you’re the kind of person that’s always forgetting where you set your sunglasses.

Glasses with light adjusting lenses can also help to protect your eyes against eye diseases caused by sunlight. These lenses are designed to fully block harmful UV light which is known to contribute to cataracts and macular degeneration.

The biggest disadvantage of photochromic lenses is that they do not typically change color when driving in a car. The windshields of modern cars have built-in UV filters that are there to help protect the dashboard and interior of a car from being damaged by UV light. Since there is no UV light entering the car, there’s also no UV light there to trigger the molecular reaction the darkens photochromic lenses. If you’re a frequent driver, then it may be worth it to invest in a pair of prescription sunglasses to keep in your car as well.

How can I get single vision transition lenses?

EyeBuyDirect offers two types of photochromic lenses: basic and Transitions Adaptive lenses. Transitions lenses are premium lenses produced by worldwide lens leader, Essilor. For a full breakdown of the differences between the two, check out our review.

To order glasses with single vision transition lenses, you can start by shopping for an eyeglass frame. Once you’ve found a frame style that you like, next you need to select your lenses. After you’ve selected your single vision lens type and confirmed your prescription, select Light Adjusting as your lens type and make your choice between basic and premium lenses with brown or gray tint.

So now that you know all about single vision transition lenses, what’s next? Finding the right frame of course! If you’re not sure where to start you can check out our face shape guide for inspiration. Ready to start shopping? Then take a look at our most popular frame styles! Happy hunting and see you next time.

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  • Symmetry $70