What is the Transition Glasses ? 5 Pros and Cons

What is the Transition Glasses ? 5 Pros and Cons

What Are Transition Lenses?

Transition glasses, also known as photochromic lenses, are eyeglasses that darken when exposed to sunlight and become clear again indoors.Photochromic lenses and Transition lenses, often used interchangeably in casual conversation, are both dynamic eyewear technologies that adapt to changing light conditions. Photochromic lenses go by many other names, including light-adaptive lenses, variable tint lenses, light intelligent lenses. When we’re not using their scientific name, we prefer the term light-responsive lenses, because it neatly encapsulates exactly what these lenses do: they respond automatically to UV light. If you can’t recall these terms, simply saying “glasses that adjust in sunlight” usually conveys the idea.

How Do Transition Lenses Work?

The light-sensitive molecules inside photochromic lenses shift their structure when they’re bathed in UV rays, allowing them to absorb more light and give the lenses a darkened appearance. Once the UV light goes away, the process reverses and the lenses become clear again.

These photochromic molecules are sensitive to both the presence and amount of UV light. They’ll change their structure more quickly when exposed to a lot of it, and more slowly if there’s only a little bit. That’s why you might notice your photochromic lenses darkening a bit less in the shade than out in the sun.

Transition lenses owe their color-changing ability to an innovative manufacturing technique. The lenses are infused with a UV-sensitive material, typically silver halide compounds, during production. This compound acts as the key ingredient that enables the lens to adapt its tint.

When exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light, the embedded silver halide molecules undergo a chemical reaction where they break down, producing tiny dark silver particles. These particles effectively scatter and absorb light, thereby darkening the lens to shield your eyes from glare and bright sunlight.

The mechanism is akin to how photosensitive film reacts to light but with one significant distinction: transition lenses can revert back to their original state. Once the source of UV light is removed, the decomposed silver halide doesn’t remain permanently changed. Instead, it goes through a reversible process thanks to the presence of another component, copper oxide, which serves as a catalyst.

In the absence of UV light, the catalytic action of copper oxide facilitates the recombination of silver ions and halogen atoms, reforming the silver halide compound. As a result, the lens gradually clears up, allowing for normal vision in indoor or low-light conditions.

Overall, this sophisticated chemistry within the lens ensures that it transitions seamlessly between clear and tinted states based on the surrounding light levels, providing wearers with convenient, automatic protection against harmful UV rays.

Why does ultraviolet (UV) light damage the eyes?

Indeed, the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) light are reminiscent of blue light’s potential harm. UV radiation is highly detrimental to ocular health and can lead to a multitude of issues starting with the cornea – the transparent outer layer protecting the eye.Upon exposure to UV light, the delicate corneal epithelial cells are at risk. The nucleus within these cells, which contains genetic material, can be disrupted by UV energy. This disruption leads to cell death and shedding, causing large areas of the epithelium to peel away. As a result, nerve endings in the underlying layers become exposed, triggering symptoms like extreme sensitivity to light (photophobia), tearing, and sensations akin to having foreign objects in the eye.The mechanism behind this damage involves UV light interacting with water molecules within epithelial cells. It breaks down water into free radicals, unstable atoms or molecules that readily react with cellular components. These free radicals initiate a chain reaction of oxidative stress, which ultimately damages and kills the cells.Acute reactions to excessive UV exposure, like photokeratitis, might not manifest immediately but rather peak around 12 hours later, often following intense sunlight exposure without proper protection. Chronic, long-term consequences are even more concerning as they accumulate over time. Examples include cataracts, which cloud the eye’s lens and impair vision, as well as other conditions linked to cumulative UV damage.In summary, UV radiation poses a significant and irreversible threat to eye health. Transition lenses play a crucial role in safeguarding your eyes by automatically darkening when exposed to UV light, thereby reducing its harmful impact and providing a measure of defense against both short- and long-term UV-related eye problems.

Pros of Transition glasses


The primary advantage of transition glasses is their convenience. These lenses automatically adjust from clear to dark based on the amount of UV light present. This eliminates the need for constantly switching between regular eyeglasses and sunglasses, making them ideal for people who spend a lot of time outdoors or in changing light conditions. With transition glasses, you can seamlessly transition between different environments without the hassle of carrying and changing multiple pairs of glasses.

2.Eye Comfort and UV Protection:

Transition glasses provide exceptional eye comfort and UV protection. They reduce the amount of glare reaching your eyes, offering relief in bright conditions and minimizing squinting and eye strain. Additionally, these lenses provide built-in ultraviolet (UV) protection, safeguarding your eyes from harmful UVA and UVB rays. This protection plays a crucial role in preventing eye conditions such as cataracts and photokeratitis. With transition glasses, you can enjoy clear vision and consistent visual acuity across all light environments, whether you’re indoors or outdoors.


Transition glasses are not only functional but also fashionable. They are available in various styles and materials, accommodating different fashion preferences. While the recommended colors for transition lenses are gray and brown, they also come in other color variations such as purple, yellow, green, orange, and pink. These light colors add a touch of decoration to your eyewear, allowing you to express your personal style while enjoying the benefits of transition glasses.

4.Reduced Risk of Losing Glasses:

The consistent presence of transition glasses on the wearer’s face significantly reduces the risk of accidental loss. Unlike traditional glasses that are often taken off and left behind on tables or in vehicles, transition glasses remain on your face throughout the day, ensuring their safety. This continuity offers a practical solution to those who struggle with managing multiple pairs of glasses, eliminating the common cause of accidental loss.


In the long run, transition glasses can prove to be more cost-effective compared to having separate pairs of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses. While the initial investment in transition glasses might be higher than standard eyeglasses, they save you the expense of purchasing and maintaining an additional pair of sunglasses. With transition glasses, you have all-in-one eyewear that adapts to different light conditions, providing both vision correction and UV protection.

However, while they are a practical choice for many, it’s important to note that the cost-effectiveness depends on individual usage patterns and specific needs. If someone spends most of their time indoors, requires specialty sunglass features like polarization, or needs dedicated sports eyewear, the investment in transition lenses may not provide the same value as multiple specialized pairs. It’s always best to discuss your lifestyle and visual requirements with an optician to make an informed decision.


Cons of Transition glasses

1.Darkening Response Time:

Transition glasses may not darken or lighten instantly. The process of darkening can take several minutes to reach their maximum tint, which might not be suitable for people who frequently move between indoor and outdoor environments quickly.

2.Indoor Tinting:

In some cases, transition lenses might still have a slight tint even when inside, especially if exposed to bright artificial light sources like halogen or strong fluorescent lighting. This could affect clarity and visibility while driving at night or in low-light conditions.

3.Limited Tint Level:

They may not get as dark as dedicated sunglasses, which can make them less effective against very bright sunlight or glare, particularly for people who require high levels of sun protection.

4.UV Dependency:

They Probably Won’t Work While You’re Driving. These lenses react to UV radiation, which means that they won’t darken effectively in cars because the windshields block most of the UV rays. For consistent protection while driving, you would need polarized clip-ons or specific driving lenses.Some newer models are designed to adapt better in the car though. Also, they do not instantly change – the transition period can take a few minutes to fully darken or lighten, depending on the intensity of the light.

5.Temperature Sensitivity:

Lastly, the performance of photochromic lenses can be influenced by temperature. They may not darken as well in colder weather, offering less protection on cold days. It is important to be aware of this limitation and consider alternative options during such conditions.

In summary, while transition glasses offer convenience and reduce the need for separate pairs of eyewear, their limitations in terms of responsiveness, darkness level, and environmental factors should be considered before making a decision based on individual needs and preferences.


Our Most Popular Transition Glasses

Go transition glasses collection

The core essence of JimHalo lies in its commitment to innovation and design, offering products that resonate with individuals who appreciate unique, high-quality eyewear. Their signature rimless frames epitomize minimalism and lightweight comfort. Crafted from resilient materials like wood or stainless steel, these frames are not only visually appealing but also incredibly durable. The absence of rims allows for an unobstructed view and enhances the wearer’s face profile, making them perfect for those who seek understated elegance without compromising on durability.

On the other hand, JimHalo’s acetate frames exude a sense of retro charm and modern sophistication. These frames are meticulously handmade from premium cellulose acetate, ensuring each pair boasts rich colors, intricate patterns, and a smooth finish. Acetate offers excellent flexibility, hypoallergenic properties, and can be molded into various shapes and sizes, allowing JimHalo to offer a diverse array of styles – from classic rectangles to bold cat-eye designs.

The brand places a strong emphasis on customization and fit, recognizing that eyewear is a personal accessory that should reflect the individuality of the wearer.

Are transition glasses right for you?

Deciding if transition lenses are the right choice for you involves considering multiple factors that reflect your lifestyle, vision needs, and personal preferences. Here’s a breakdown to help you decide:

1.Outdoor Exposure:

Transition lenses excel when you frequently move between indoor and outdoor environments. If you spend significant time outdoors or often switch between the two, they can provide seamless comfort.

2.Light Sensitivity:

People with light sensitivity may find relief in transition lenses as they automatically darken to shield your eyes from bright conditions.

3.Convenience Factor:

For those who dislike carrying around or switching between regular glasses and sunglasses, transition lenses eliminate the need and offer a one-lens solution.

4.Cost Comparison:

Assessing whether the cost of transition lenses justifies their benefits is crucial. If you’d otherwise buy separate pairs of prescription glasses and sunglasses, they might save you money over time.

5.Lifestyle Assessment:

Analyze your daily routines, hobbies, and work environment. Active lifestyles with diverse lighting scenarios often align well with transition lenses’ functionality.

6.Professional Advice:

Consult with an optician or eye care professional who will consider your visual health, lifestyle, and preferences to recommend the best lens options.

But the reason I chose transition lenses is because I think it’s a cool lens.

Ultimately, the suitability of transition lenses depends on how well they address your unique combination of visual needs, convenience expectations, and budget constraints. By carefully weighing these points, you can determine if this dynamic technology is the right fit for your eyewear needs.


1.What is the difference between different brands of transition lenses?

Transition Components:

1. Inherent Change: This is a relatively traditional transition technique, involving the incorporation of a transition agent into the lens, where the transition occurs within the lens.

2. Film Change: A newer transition technology involves applying a transition film layer to the lens surface. The transition components are on the surface film layer. With film change, the transition portion is on the film layer, making it independent of lens material restrictions. Additionally, the transition speed is faster and more uniform compared to inherent change. Therefore, commonly seen lenses like non-spherical, progressive, blue light blocking, and lenses with various refractive indices can be processed into film-changing lenses. This offers a broader selection range, and it is recommended for individuals with high myopia due to its advantages in transition speed and uniformity.

Jim Halo’s photochromic lenses utilize Film Change technology, delivering rapid color transitions and UV protection features.

The color-changing frequency of transition lenses may vary among different brands, typically set at around 3000 cycles. If, for instance, you go out twenty times in a day, it implies that you’ve used the lenses for twenty color transitions. Exceeding this frequency may result in a gradual slowing down of the color-changing speed, eventually leading to a loss of effectiveness. Therefore, the recommended optimal wear duration for transition glasses is approximately 1-2 years.

2.How to choose different colors of transition lenses?

The choice between gray or brown transition lenses depends on individual preferences and age groups.

Gray Transition Lenses:

Recommended for: Individuals under the age of 50.

Characteristics: Gray transition lenses do not alter the original color; they only reduce brightness. They are suitable for maintaining color authenticity in various lighting conditions, providing a natural transition between indoor and outdoor settings.

Brown Transition Lenses:

Recommended for: Individuals aged 50 and above.

Characteristics: Brown transition lenses have an “enhancing” effect, improving clarity. They are especially suitable for older individuals, particularly those who have undergone cataract surgery. The yellowish tint contributes to increased contrast in specific situations.

In the case of driving glasses, the use of yellow lenses is also aimed at enhancing contrast, particularly during nighttime or in overcast weather. However, in everyday use, personal preferences regarding color, visual experience, and specific usage scenarios are factors influencing the choice.

In summary, personal preference is a significant consideration. However, making choices based on age and specific needs can better meet the requirements for eye protection and visual comfort.

3.How much do transition lenses cost?

The cost of transition lenses can vary based on several factors, including the brand, lens material, prescription strength, and additional coatings or features. On average, transition lenses may add $50 to $100 or more to the cost of standard prescription lenses.

Here are some general price ranges:

1. Standard Transition Lenses: These lenses typically cost between $50 and $100 in addition to the cost of the prescription lenses.

2. High-Index or Specialty Materials: If you choose high-index lenses or other specialty materials, the cost of transition features may increase. High-index lenses are thinner and lighter than standard lenses but may come with an additional cost.

3. Brand and Coatings: Certain lens brands or coatings may also affect the overall cost. Premium brands and coatings designed to reduce glare, repel water, or resist scratches may add to the expense.

4. Prescription Complexity: The strength and complexity of your prescription can impact the cost of transition lenses. Higher prescriptions or multifocal lenses may be more expensive.

5. Frame Style: The type of frame you choose can influence the cost. Larger frames or frames with a wraparound style may require larger transition lenses, potentially affecting the price.

Jimhalo’s photochromic lenses work directly with lens manufacturers, minus the middleman price difference. Prescription transition lenses are priced from as low as $39 with one-year warranty.

4.Do photochromic lenses get as dark as sunglasses?

Photochromic lenses, including transition lenses, have the ability to darken in response to UV exposure, providing some level of sunglass-like protection. However, the degree of darkness achieved by photochromic lenses may not be as intense as that of dedicated sunglasses, especially those with very dark tint levels.

To confirm this, I got myself a pair of transition glasses with grey lenses. When I stood in the sun, it took less than 30 seconds to reach the darkest color of the transition lenses. The weather was fine, with temperatures around 20°C (68 ℉). Compared with the same color of gray lenses sunglasses, the effect of transition lenses is about 70% of the ordinary sunglasses, I think it can meet my needs very well. This is my own experience.

The darkness of photochromic lenses depends on various factors:

1. Intensity of UV Exposure: Photochromic lenses react to UV radiation. In direct sunlight or high UV conditions, the lenses tend to darken more.

2. Lens Material: The type of material used in the lenses can influence the maximum darkness. High-index or polycarbonate lenses may not get as dark as traditional glass lenses.

3. Brand and Technology: Different brands use varying photochromic technologies, and some may achieve darker tints than others.

4. Temperature: Photochromic lenses may respond differently in varying temperatures. Some lenses may not darken as much in very hot temperatures.

While photochromic lenses are convenient for individuals who want eyeglasses that can double as sunglasses, they may not be suitable for situations where very dark tint is necessary, such as intense sunlight or high-altitude environments. In such cases, wearing dedicated sunglasses with a specific tint may provide greater protection.