Transitions Lenses

Dr. Kisling eyeglasses, Fort Collins Eye Doctor, Fort Collins Optometrist, sports vision, Sunglasses Leave a Comment

Transitions Lenses Origin


in 1981, the first plastic lens that had a tint adjusting to sunlight was introduced. It was made by American Optical and branded PhotoLite. I had one of those early lenses and it changed from clear to blue when exposed to sunlight. Blue tint is a poor choice for the sunlight exposure we have around the Fort Collins area. The pupil dilates and lets in more blue light which can have damaging effects to the retina inside the eye. While the PhotoLite lenses did not work very well they did  blaze the pathway for the development of future generations of transitions lenses in the 90’s. Today we have a number of options to protect your eyes from the harmful UV radiation and enhance sight at the same time. Transition optical makes a family of adjusting lens tints for different applications and lifestyles.

Signature Transitions Lenses

The signature line is a lens that starts out clear and changes to a solid tint. You have three colors you can choose from; gray,brown or green. Gray and green maintain color balance (i.e. do not alter the relationships of colors) and are good all around choices. Brown may offer some advantages seeing a golf ball on greens and against a blue sky. It is also a good choice for fishing, boating and other water sports.  Often the choice is made based on what looks best with the color of the frame. The signature line blocks 100% of UVA and UVB. These transitions lenses do not darken behind a car windshield. That means you will either need another pair of sunglasses just for driving on sunny days or you can utilize a sunglass clip over the lenses. These come with some frames and can be custom made for virtually any frame available

Vantage Transitions Lenses

In 2012 the Vantage line was introduced. These Transitions lenses have a light tint indoors and darken to gray outdoors. Like the signature line, it does not activate behind a car windshield and will require either another pair of sunglasses for driving or clips over the lenses. It has the added advantage of polarization that increases as the lens darkens. This makes it a great choice for fishing and sports around the water and snow, as it will help eliminate the glare that comes off of water. Fisherman report being able to see under the water better than ever before. Like all transition products, it blocks 100% of UVA & UVB.

 EXTRActive Transitions Lenses

The Transitions lenses known as EXTRActive starts out with a mild tint and turn gray on light exposure. It is the darkest tint change available and a good choice for someone who is more light sensitive and/or working in a bright environment. There is some activation behind a car windshield and it may be adequate for sun protection in most environments without any further adjustments. It also blocks 100% of UVA & UVB. More information about light sensitivity can be found at eyes and light sensitivity.

Drivewear Transitions Lenses

Transitions  lenses Drivewear are changeable lenses made for daytime use only. They start out yellow-green and change to copper then red-brown. These transitions lenses start out with a tint then become fully activated behind a windshield, making them a good choice for driving and cycling outdoors. In fog they are yellow green and add some helpful contrast to your vision. As the light increases they grow darker offering more protection. They also include polarization making them an option for water sports. Other uses include golf, hiking and climbing. Just remember, they won’t work well when it starts to get dark.

When Transitions Lenses Are Not The Right Fit

Sometimes sunwear needs are best met by a solid tint that does not change. Frame choice matter too, since up to 40% of the light can come in from the sides. Wrap frames, frames have larger eye sizes and/or sit closer to your eyes, and larger side pieces all help with protecting your sight. Spend a few minutes with us and we will be happy to help you learn the best options for protecting your eyes form UV radiation and glare. For further information on the damaging effects of UV see UV as a cause of pinguecula


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