As a practicing optometrist, I try to keep up with the latest innovations in lens technology.
I’m always looking for better lens technology to block out the sun since it’s a big concern here in Arizona.
And one of the things I really love (and use myself) is photochromic lenses.
What are Photochromic Lenses?
Photochromic lenses are special lenses that darken when exposed to sunlight and lighten when indoors. They are very useful for protecting your eyes outdoors from glare, UV rays, and bright light from the sun.
These special lenses can be fitted into any frame and offer the convenience of having both a regular pair of eyeglasses and sunglasses.
Benefits of Photochromic Lenses?
First and foremost, people get photochromic lenses for the convenience of having all their eyewear needs in only one pair of eyeglasses. You need sunglasses anyways, so it’s very convenient to have them in bifocals or progressive lenses.
They can be your regular eyeglasses, sunglasses, and reading glasses all in one.
They offer continuous protection from harmful UV radiation, blue light, bright light, and glare since there’s no need to take them off your face and switch between sunglasses and other types of eyeglasses. You can just keep them on all day long.
Plus, you’ll never lose eyeglasses because you put them down somewhere and forgot about them because there’s only one pair to keep track of, and you’ll be wearing them most of the time.
Having everything in one also means you can potentially save money on eyewear or organize your eyewear collection more easily if you like to have a variety of frames and styles.
That’s great, but what’s the catch?
As they say, “nothing is perfect” and that also goes for photochromic lenses as well.
Since these lenses need direct UV rays to darken, they darken and lighten in different degrees depending on the brand and the UV rays. Other brands also change color at varying rates, so one brand can change faster than another brand.
Environmental conditions also play a hand in how they darken. Generally, it can take significantly longer for the lenses to change color in cold weather.
Last but not least, photochromic lenses don’t darken well inside your car. The reason for this is that your car’s windshield has built-in UV protection.
This blocks the UV rays from getting through and prevents the lenses from darkening adequately. But, lens technology is progressing to overcome this problem.
On a side note, some photochromic lenses also don’t lighten completely indoors. The good thing is that since there is a slight tint to them, they block glare from fluorescent lights and computer screens pretty well and offer some comfort to our eyes.
On the bad side, this may be especially inconvenient for photographers, graphic designers, or anyone else who needs clear vision of different colors and lighting.
Are Photochromic lenses worth getting?
Yes, photochromic lenses are worth buying.
It’s worthy to note that photochromic lenses are more expensive than your single vision and progressive lenses, but they do a lot more than both of them.
I have been wearing photochromic lenses since the 1980’s and seen the technological advancements that takes place in every decade. And, I still wear them to this day because of their convenience and utility.
So, yes! They are truly worth it…
Putting it All Together
There are many benefits to owning a pair of photochromic glasses. There are so many styles and colors and kinds that most people can find a style that suits them, and they can fill a need in any environment, whether you’re on the ski slope, on the water, or in your office.