Do Photochromic Lenses Work in the Car?

Do Photochromic Lenses Work in the Car?

Once you dive into the rabbit hole of eyewear, you unlock a new level of hyperfocus: all the nuances of frames and lenses that can elevate the way you see. From fog-resistant coatings to anti-fatigue lenses, there’s a lot you can do to level up your glasses. 

The team at Stoggles is committed to keeping your eyes safe and your look stylish. If you’ve been considering photochromic lenses, you should know they have a few limitations… but a handful of key advantages, too. We’ll talk about those and tell you what you need to keep your eyes safe inside and outside your car. 

Let’s Talk About Light, Baby

Sunlight does more than make you squint. The sun’s rays penetrate your corneas and reach the retina, the structure at the back of your eye that is responsible for your vision. Damage to the retina means damage to your vision, and that damage could result in vision loss. 

The Bad News

Both UVA and UVB rays can reach the retina, and you’re exposed to them when you’re outside, inside, near a window, or driving in a car. Even on cloudy days, you’re exposed to harmful rays that could harm your eyes. 

The fun doesn’t stop there. The sun also emits blue light, which you’ve probably heard of but might not be familiar with. Blue light is emitted from devices like your smartphone and tablet, but also from computers, LED televisions, and light bulbs. 

You need protection from all the dangerous rays the sun produces. Here’s why:

What Does the Sun Do to Your Eyes?

The sun can cause age-related eye issues like cataracts and macular degeneration to happen faster. Before that even happens, you can develop eye infections and conditions like photokeratitis and surfer’s eye. 

Your vision changes as you age, and your vision is likely to decline naturally on its own. If you’re looking for methods to speed up the process, exposing your sun to UV rays without protection is a promising avenue. 


This condition happens when you’re exposed to light that is reflected off of a surface like sand, snow, or water. It’s also commonly referred to as snow blindness. If you’ve ever hit the slopes a little too long without your eye protection, you might have experienced temporary blindness (and a mild panic attack) upon going indoors. 

Symptoms of photokeratitis include itching, burning eyes, excessive tearing, and a feeling of grit or sand in the eyes that doesn’t go away. Normally, this condition will clear on its own, but sometimes it can take weeks to heal. 

Surfer’s Eye

This condition also happens due to exposure to UV rays reflected off of the surface of water, sand, or snow. Surfer’s eye involves the development of small, red lumps in the conjunctiva (the white parts of the eye). 

These lumps never go away unless they’re removed surgically. Though they usually are not painful, they can be unsightly and annoying. 


With age, the proteins in the eye begin to break down. You might first notice this progression as “floaters” in your mid-forties. Over time, these clumps of proteins band together and form lesions over the cornea called cataracts. 

Cataracts make your vision blurry and may eventually result in total vision loss. 

Macular Degeneration

Commonly thought to affect only the elderly, cases of macular degeneration are being seen in people as young as fifty. The macula is inside the retina, and it’s responsible for fine, detailed vision. As your macula loses function, you lose vision. 

One of the contributing factors of macular degeneration? Sun exposure. You might not like wearing eye protection, but you’d probably like telling people you’ve got macular degeneration at your fiftieth birthday party a lot less.

The Sun Fix

Anybody can tell you that a hat and sunglasses are smart choices when you’ll be exposed to the sun, but few people can tell you whether those sunglasses actually have UV-blocking lenses. Most of the time, we just assume they do because the dark tint makes us comfortable and helps us see clearly. 

Fun (or not so fun) fact: The shading of your lens has nothing to do with UV protection. Take your car windshield, for instance. If it’s legal, it’s crystal clear, but it still blocks UV light. You’ve got options for protection both inside and outside the car. 

UV-Blocking Eyewear

UV protective eyewear keeps your eyes safe from UvA and UVB rays, regardless of the amount of tinting your glasses provide. At Stoggles, we provide UV coverage in the form of lenses crafted from polycarbonate, a material that is extremely durable, ultra-lightweight, and naturally UV-blocking. 

Whether you’re exposed to UV light in the lab or in the sun, you’ll be protected.

Blue Light Blockers

Blue light blocking filters effectively send blue light from the sun and your devices packing. Every pair of Stoggles we make comes with blue light-blocking lenses that keep your eyes safe from blue light.

Blue light filtration is literally injected into our lenses when they’re made to ensure you are protected from blue light emissions from the sun, your phone, your TV, and any other blue light source. 

The Scoop on Photochromic Lenses

Now that you know the real deal with sun exposure and your vision, you might have some questions like: What to do to protect your eyes on cloudy days, or whether transition lenses will work while you’re driving. 

Photo What?

Photochromic lenses, also known as transition lenses, are lenses that are treated with a UV-reactive coating. When your eyewear is exposed to UV light, they naturally darken to keep your eyes shielded from the sun. When the sun recedes, or the UV light is no longer around, they fade back to clear. 

Can You Wear Photochromic Lenses in the Car?

Unfortunately, you can’t wear photochromic lenses in the car, and the reason is your windshield. Remember that your windshield blocks UV rays. Because it filters out UV rays, your UV-reactive eyewear never has a chance to change shades. So when you’re taking a road trip down the coast wearing your photochromic glasses, you’ll still be squirting all day long. 

If you have transition lenses, you can wear them anywhere except behind the wheel. For that, you’ll need to don a pair of UV-blocking sunglasses or your favorite pair of Stoggles on an overcast day. 

Best Options for Eyewear in the Car

You’ve got about as many options for eyewear to use while you’re driving as you have cars to drive. You know the team at Stoggles is safety and style also first, so here’s what we recommend (and subsequently outfit our eyewear with).

ANSI Z87.1-2020 Certification

For protection against any kind of debris interference, you want the ANSI Z87.1-2020 Certification. This certification ensures your eyewear can take a rogue toy to the eye hurled from the backseat or even offer some protection from other debris (like if you have your windows open). 

While you certainly don’t anticipate flying objects in your car, it only takes one for an accident to happen. 


Fogging glasses aren’t just a pain in the eye; they’re really dangerous. Taking your glasses off to wipe down fog takes you off your task and places your eyes at risk of the dangers around them.

Stoggles has the solution. We seal our lenses with anti-fog dip coating to ensure you don’t have to wipe down fog for a really long time. Why dip, you ask? Well, good question; thank you for asking, actually! The current spray-style anti-fog coatings don’t last very long and tend to be really patchy. We were like, no thanks, and science’d that solution. Our dip is longer-lasting and more even — it took us nine months to make, and we’re so proud of that baby of ours.

Side and Top Shields

Regular eyewear (like standard sunglasses) can leave your eye vulnerable in places like the space near your eyebrows and across your temples. 

Side and top shields fix the problem by providing a streamlined, low-profile design that gives you the coverage you need without adding bulk or weight. 

Light Protection 

You need protection from all sources of harmful light, and Stoggles does the job by blocking UV rays and blue light. Now, you can get your favorite Stoggles frames with transition-style lenses. 

Stoggles Dimmers™ are made with UV-reactive lenses. When it gets too bright, your Stoggles will naturally darken. When the light fades, so will your Stoggles lenses, back to their original, crystal clear state. 

It’s the easy way to keep your eyes shaded, safe, and stylishly sun-protected, all while being as comfy as your favorite pajamas. 

The Stoggles Way

You need sun protection for your eyes, but you need options that work in the car. Stoggles give you the ability to keep your eyes protected from the sun any time you’re out in the rays. Our Stoggles Dimmers tech requires UV rays to trigger the transition, so keep in mind that windows will prevent any of those UV rays from coming in — aka, the lenses won’t work in your car, unless you’re in a convertible with the top down.

We also offer numerous different style options with trendy frame styles (like cat eye and aviator) and so many colors you’ll probably want more than one pair. Stoggles are already UV-blocking because of their material, but they go one step further by working to block the sharp rays of sunlight.

Stoggles give you safety, sun protection, and keep you looking effortlessly hot while feeling cool for the ultimate flex in or out of your vehicle. 


The heat is on: Ensure patients’ protective eyewear is, too | AOA

Should You Be Worried About Blue Light? | American Academy of Ophthalmology

How to Protect Your Eyes from UV Damage| John Hopkins Medicine

ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020: Current Standard for Safety Glasses | ANSI

Pterygium (Surfer's Eye): Diagnosis, Symptoms & Treatment | Cleveland Clinic

Photokeratitis (Ultraviolet [UV] burn, Arc eye, Snow Blindness) | College of Optometrists

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