All about Transition Lenses: Do They Block Blue Light?

In the early 2000s, a new breed of eyeglasses rapidly became popular in many parts of the world. These glasses are fitted with transition lenses, which have a dark shade while outdoors, and magically transform into a perfectly clear lens when you step inside. Of course, we know that there is really nothing magical about it but nevertheless, it still is a remarkable feat of technology that gave us this kind of eyewear.

Transition Lenses

In addition to the shift from dark to light and vice versa, transition lenses can be customized to have another notable feature, which is their ability to block blue light. Many people are now very conscious of the dangers of blue light, as extensive exposure has been said to lead to a whole range of vision problems and other health concerns. But do transition lenses really block blue light? Keep reading to find out.

What Are Transition Lenses?

Transition lenses are known by many names. Depending on what part of the world you are in, or even on your optometrist, they can also be known as photochromic lenses, variable tint lenses, or light adaptive lenses. No matter what they are called, transition lenses are always the kind of eyeglass lenses that are clear when indoors or in low-light conditions, and become darker when exposed to sunlight or other bright light sources.

People who frequently move from indoors to outdoors would benefit greatly from wearing transition lenses. For such people, it is quite common to have a regular pair of prescription glasses for indoor use, and another pair of prescription sunglasses for when they need to go out. Transition glasses eliminate the need to switch across these two pairs of glasses just because you need to go outside or back inside. This would be a huge convenience, not to mention some savings as well as you won’t need to get multiple pairs.

How Do Transition Lenses Work?

This is a question that people have been asking since transition lenses first came out more than a decade ago. How does the lens automatically change from perfectly clear to very dark, and all within just a few seconds?

The answer lies in a special dye that is used on the lenses. These dyes exhibit a chemical reaction upon exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. In their normal state, the dyes are colorless or transparent, so the glasses are perfectly clear while you are indoors. But the moment you step out and the sun's UV rays hit the surface of the glasses, the dye reacts and changes in color, resulting in a darker tint, which ultimately shades your eyes from the glare of the sun. The dye remains activated as long as there is sun exposure. When you walk back into the building, the lens will revert to its original clear state.

Transition Lenses Pros and Cons

Just like most of the other types of eyewear, transition lenses do have both pros and cons. In order to make a decision on whether they are the correct choice for you, it is vital that you weigh these pros and cons carefully.

What Are The Pros?

The biggest advantage of using transition lenses is that you only need one pair of glasses for all situations. This is very convenient especially for busy or forgetful individuals, as you don’t need to bring multiple pairs wherever you go. Since they are designed for both outdoor and indoor use, transition lenses offer all the UV protection you would need. Whether they are in the clear mode or the dark mode, these lenses will give you 100% protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Transition lenses are also great for blue light protection. Even during clear mode, the special lens that comes with these glasses can block a huge amount of blue light that can otherwise enter the eyes from digital screens and other artificial light sources.

When it comes to design, people who opt for transition lenses will have no shortage of choices. From lens designs, lens shades and colors, lens materials, and even additional features like anti-reflective or anti-scratch coatings, you can just specify what you need and most manufacturers will be able to make a customized lens that caters to all your needs.

What Are The Cons?

One of the most common complaints about transition lenses is the automatic darkening of the lens the moment it gets hit by UV light. When you enter a very brightly lit room, for instance, the lens can turn brown, which can be a bit frustrating or even inappropriate.

Some wearers of transition lenses have also noted delays in the color changes during cold weather. There is actually a natural delay in regular cases since the transition is gradual and not instant. But cold temperatures are said to make the delays even longer.

Another drawback is that the lenses do not always darken while inside the car, at least when it comes to the earlier version. This occurs even when there is bright sunlight. The reason for this is that most cars have windshields with UV protection, which prevents transition lenses from activating.

Finally, there is the matter of the cost. Because of the special materials used in manufacturing transition lenses, these glasses are notably more expensive than regular ones.

Transition Lenses Colors

Transition lenses today come in various shades of brown, gray, and green in the darkened mode, and turn into a clear or almost clear hue in low light conditions. If you are looking for a more unique shade for your outdoor glasses, like other color choices, you can ask the glasses retailers for more availabilities.

Do Transition Lenses Block Blue Light?

Transition lenses do block blue light so you won’t need a separate pair of glasses for blue light protection. Whether you are indoors or outdoors, the transition lenses can stop blue light from entering your eyes. If you are wondering whether transition lenses would be good to use if you do a lot of computer work, the answer is yes. They can effectively block blue light from various sources, protecting your eyes even during long periods in front of a computer screen.