The Pros and Cons of Transition Lenses

The Pros and Cons of Transition Lenses

Once you start wearing any kind of glasses, you’re automatically down the rabbit hole of all things eyeglasses-related. Light transitional lenses are a popular option that claims to reduce the amount of money you spend on eyewear and replace multiple pairs of glasses with just one pair. 

Wondering if light transitional lenses are worth the hype? We investigated, and we also put light transitional safety glasses to the test. Here’s what you should know about light transitional safety glasses and whether they’re a good fit for you.

What Are Light Transitional Lenses?

Light transitional lenses, also known as photochromic lenses, are lenses that are treated so that they darken when exposed to UV rays and lighten when they are not. What this means for you, the wearer, is that if you wear safety glasses or corrective lenses, you won’t need to change to a pair of shades when you step into the sunlight.

Light transitional lenses feature a photochromic layer that changes when exposed to light. If you wear light transitional lenses, you should be able to go from indoors to outdoors without changing from your eyeglasses to your sunglasses.

When Do You Need Light Transitional Lenses?

Light transitional lenses keep your eyes shielded from the brightest lighting conditions, which can keep you from having to change from regular eyeglasses to a pair of prescription sunglasses. 

If you frequently move between indoor and outdoor spaces, whether for work or otherwise, then transitional lenses are for you. These lenses will only work under UV rays — any indoor lighting, however bright, won’t trigger them to darken. Just so you know, transitional lenses are also sometimes referred to as photochromic glasses. 

Now that you know, let’s look at some of the pros of transition lenses and, as promised, the cons, so you can determine for yourself whether you should pick regular glasses or these transforming options. 

How Do Transition Lenses Work?

These lenses contain special photochromic dyes and coatings that react to light. When the light is bright, the glasses darken. When the lighting is dim, the glasses remain clear. 

The more exposure to UV light, the darker the tint on the eyeglass lens will become. This means you essentially have the perfect pair of shades no matter what environment you’re in, and you never have to switch your specs.

Are Transition Lenses the Same as Progressive Lenses?

No. They aren’t the same. 

Progressive lenses are the new term for advanced bifocals, and are a type of prescription lens. Unlike transition lenses, they don’t necessarily change when exposed to UV light. These lenses have up to three different types of vision correction; up close, far away, and middle distance. 

You can have progressive lenses with transition tinting, but they won’t automatically come that way. Your optometrist and/or optician can help you decide if you need transition lenses along with progressive lenses. At your next scheduled eye exam, talk to your doctor about your vision correction, but also mention how much bright light you are exposed to in a day. At Stoggles, we can handle this and provide Dimmers in both Single Vision and Progressive lenses to fit your needs.

Pros of Light Transitional Safety Glasses

What are the benefits of having one pair of glasses to rule them all?

Here’s what’s good about light transitional safety glasses: 

1. They’re Cost-Effective

It goes without saying light transitional lenses can save you money. Instead of purchasing two pairs of glasses, one for indoors and one for when you’re in the sun, you’ll only buy one pair. If you traditionally wear safety glasses for your work and find yourself going from indoors to out frequently, this will save you from purchasing two pairs of glasses. 

2. They’re Convenient

There’s no denying the convenience of light transitional safety glasses. You won’t have to carry an additional pair of glasses in your pocket (in a protective case) for times when you need darker lenses — talk about a hassle. Safety glasses with light transitional lenses can go from light to dark and keep your eyes comfortable without switching between two different pairs of specs. 

3. You Probably Won’t Lose Your Glasses

If you’re used to keeping two pairs of shades around, you might find yourself misplacing them. Having one fewer pair of glasses to keep up with can mean you don’t end up kicking yourself for losing your glasses (again). 

However, it should be noted that having one pair of glasses can also make it easier for you to have to take a trip to the eye doctor or store if you lose them. You’ll have to get new prescription lenses or, at the very least, a new pair of glasses.

4. They Offer Eye Protection

Light transitional lenses are famous for their UV-blocking abilities. Some safety glasses don’t necessarily protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays (Stoggles do because we are literally obsessed with eye protection).

If you have light transitional lenses in your safety glasses, you’ll get the benefit of UV protection when you’re exposed to UV light.

While they are not light transitional glasses, all Stoggles safety specs are coated with UVA + UVB protection, which means you never have to worry about your eyes being exposed to UV rays.

5. You Can Use Your Glasses at Home

Used to taking off your safety glasses when you hit the road to head home? Got a few other pairs of safety glasses stashed in your garage for at-home projects? Using light transitional lens safety frames can keep you from having a bazillion pairs of safety glasses at home and work.

Keep one pair of glasses that you can use indoors and at work and outdoors for home projects, sports, or yard work. 

6. They Might Help With Cataracts

Cataracts are a condition that occurs over time, usually when proteins in the lens of the eye break down. This causes things to appear cloudy and can cause you to be unable to see color clearly. Eventually, cataracts can rob you of your eyesight. 

One of the most common causes of cataracts is exposure to harmful UV rays. UV rays damage the eye, which is why wearing UV protective specs is crucial to keeping your eyes healthy. If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, however, you may be able to slow down the progression by wearing transition glasses to help keep your eyes safe from UV exposure.

Cons of Light Transitional Safety Glasses

Light transitional safety glasses can be a great fit for some users, but they aren’t for everyone. Some of the drawbacks of using light transitional glasses may make them a no-go for you.

Here’s what you should know: 

1. Won’t Work in the Car You Can’t Drive With Them

Unless you’re in a convertible with the top down, it’s highly likely that your transitional lenses won’t work. The lens material operates by changing when exposed to UV rays. The windshield of your car also blocks UV rays, and because the windshield is doing the job, your glasses won’t get enough UV light to change colors. 

This means you’ll still need to have a pair of sunglasses when you’re driving, which may eliminate the benefit of light transitional lenses altogether. 

2. Light Transitional Times Can Be a Bother

Remember how it felt to wait for dial-up to connect you to the internet? That can be the feeling you get when waiting for your light transitional safety glasses to fully adjust. Although it normally only takes a few seconds, certain factors (like temperature) may cause it to happen slower or not at all.

Cold weather, air conditioning systems, and extreme heat can all delay the time it takes for your lenses to respond to UV light and darken. This can be problematic seasonally as well as year-round, depending on where you live and what you do. 

Ask any light transitional lens wearer, and they’ll probably have a story (or three) about how their lenses let them down going from indoors to outdoors. 

3. You Might Experience Glare

Light transitional lenses can’t be polarized, so you’ll probably experience a glare if you attempt to wear them near water or snow. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking for safety glasses to protect your eyes during outdoor sports like snowboarding or wakeboarding. 

4. Light Transitional Lenses Can Wear Out

Nothing lasts forever: If you have light transitional lenses, they may wear out a little bit faster, requiring you to buy a new pair sooner than with some other, longer-lasting options. The difference is nothing drastic, but it may be something to keep in mind if you want to be in it for the long (long, long) haul. 

When the photochromic layer begins to wear out, you’ll notice that your lenses take a longer time to move through shades. They also won’t get as dark in daylight, which can render them useless. You’ll know it’s time to replace them when they begin to develop a yellow tint when the lenses should be clear.

You can help reduce this chance by buying quality (and style and comfort because compromises are lame).

The Stoggles Difference

At Stoggles, we keep it simple. All of our safety eyewear offers UV protection, so you never have to worry about exposing your eyes to damaging UV rays whether you’re using our glasses indoors or outdoors. 

We also use a supreme anti-fog coating on our lenses, so when you move from inside to outdoors, your glasses won’t fog up and render you visionless until you can wipe them clean. 

Work behind a computer desk? That’s no problem. Our blue light blocking is infused into the material and, thus, into the lenses during the time of manufacture. This ensures that our blue light tech lasts much longer than traditional blue light-blocking “coatings” — which are at the surface level and hence wear off much quicker.

Our safety glasses are all ANSI Z87.1 certified, making them impact and shatter-proof, offering you impact resistance that’s also spill and splatter-proof. Want to use Stoggles outside?

Check out Stoggles Dimmers™. Our Standard LucidLens™ that have naturally built-in UV protection (from the polycarbonate lens material) just got upgraded with light-responsive lenses that prevent squinting and keep your eyes shielded from the sun or any other intrusive light.

The best part? If you need prescription lenses, we make it super simple. 

Just upload your prescription to our website, and we’ll customize a pair of Stoggles that will keep your eyes safe, cut down on eye strain, and dramatically improve the way you approach your eye health. All wrapped up in a stylish, sleek design that will have you parting ways with your regular prescription sunglasses. With Stoggles, prescription is also available in both clear and light-responsive lenses, too, to cover all your needs.

Suns Out, Stoggles On

When we’re in the sun, we want our drinks cold and our lenses dark. Oh, and by the way, we also want to look good. Stoggles make it possible to keep your eyes safe no matter what you’re doing outside or indoors. 


Self-Darkening Eyeglasses | What's That Stuff? | Chemical & Engineering News: Science & Technology

Ultraviolet Waves | Science Mission Directorate | NASA

A Surprising Danger in Planes, Trains and Automobiles | Skin Cancer Foundation

Pros and Cons of Progressive Lenses | American Academy of Ophthalmology

Ultraviolet (UV) protection | AOA

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