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View Full Version : Should I get Transition lenses?


RealityChuck
03-22-2012, 09:27 AM
I need new glasses and since I have money to burn, I was wondering about getting Transitions lenses.

1. Are they any good?
2. How long to the take to change from clear to sunglasses and back?
3. Do they become less effective over time? If so, about how long before they stop being effective?

Any experience or advice would be appreciated.

Bridget Burke
03-22-2012, 09:52 AM
I got some from Costco. They worked fine, but I wouldn't recommend the rimless style; over time, the coating began to wear off around the edges. Frames with rims would probably work better.

Then I found a local optician with cheap, interesting frames. Now I have three pairs of regular glasses & three for the sun!

GrandWino
03-22-2012, 09:55 AM
I have them and I hate them.

They work great outside, though I'm not in love with how they look when they're transitioned. My biggest complaint is with how long they take to change back when I go back inside. In the warmer months its not terrible but when it's cold out, they can take 10 minutes or so to transition back and it's a pain in the ass.

silenus
03-22-2012, 10:04 AM
I love mine. Wouldn't go back to regular lenses for anything. They transition very quickly, and you get used to things being a little darker than normal when you walk into the house (for a few seconds). My only "complaint" is that I still need sunglasses for sunny days because the transition lenses don't get dark enough for really bright sun. They cut it down some, but not enough.

friedo
03-22-2012, 10:12 AM
I really like mine. I haven't noticed them taking especially long to undarken when going inside; there may be differences in quality that account for the timing. The only downside is that they don't get as dark as real sunglasses, so if you need real protection from bright sunlight, they probably will not be sufficient.

Also, remember that photochromic lenses respond to UV light, so they won't work in, say, a greenhouse, where the glass windows filter UV. If you drive, they won't work in the car because the windshield filters UV, so you may want separate sunglasses for the car.

Azeotrope
03-22-2012, 10:14 AM
I need new glasses and since I have money to burn, I was wondering about getting Transitions lenses.

1. Are they any good?
2. How long to the take to change from clear to sunglasses and back?
3. Do they become less effective over time? If so, about how long before they stop being effective?

Any experience or advice would be appreciated.

1. I like them, since they stop me from losing prescription sunglasses and they get plenty dark enough for most situations I've found myself in.

2. I never noticed how long it takes them to darken. It seems to be pretty fast. Bob Ducca's right about them taking a while to change back when it's cold, which is slightly annoying but only slightly to me.

3. I had my old ones for nearly 7 years and the color change still works fine. In fact I still use them to do yardwork and stuff where I don't need to see perfectly and I don't want to risk scratching or breaking the new ones.

diggerwam
03-22-2012, 10:20 AM
Takes too long to switch back. Also don't change when I'm driving car unless I have sunroof open. Driving isain reason I need sunglasses and my script is too expensive and insurance too stingy to have two pairs. So no. I wouldn't do it next time. I've had mine less than a year.

AlmostPerfect
03-22-2012, 12:13 PM
I had them about 6 years ago, I would never go back. I felt as if they began to tint permanently, over time the quality lessened. I didn't like that once I used normal lenses, I wasn't used to the sun when I would step outside temporarily. This is the same reason I do not use prescription sunglasses; I would rather just use sunglasses and contacts as a combination. Perhaps the technology has improved since then, or my memory is fuzzy, but I wouldn't go back to them even if they were free.

Really Not All That Bright
03-22-2012, 12:34 PM
Current Transitions lenses work faster and last longer than even those on the market 5 years ago. As long as you don't live in a chest freezer the photochromic function will probably outlast the frame.
Also, remember that photochromic lenses respond to UV light, so they won't work in, say, a greenhouse, where the glass windows filter UV. If you drive, they won't work in the car because the windshield filters UV, so you may want separate sunglasses for the car.
This.

Mama Zappa
03-22-2012, 01:03 PM
I don't have them, but like diggerwam the main reason I'd want them is for driving and I'm told they won't color-change enough to help there.

Really Not All That Bright
03-22-2012, 01:05 PM
They won't color change at all there. Auto glass is dense enough to block all UV.

Cat Whisperer
03-22-2012, 01:07 PM
Takes too long to switch back. Also don't change when I'm driving car unless I have sunroof open. <snip>These are the reasons I'll never have them again, either. Just give me a good old pair of sunglasses (or clip-ons).

Scumpup
03-22-2012, 01:09 PM
I've had them and don't care for them. Where I would most want to have sunglasses, in the car, they don't work. So, I ended up having to buy prescription sunglasses anyway. They also don't get really dark enough to be useful at the beach or on sunny winter days.
With places like Zenni optical around, it's actually cheaper just to get a few pairs of prescription sunglasses made on less expensive frames and keep one pair in the car, one pair in my man purse, and one pair in my motorcycle's tank bag.

ratatoskK
03-22-2012, 01:35 PM
I love them (and mine are rimless and they last forever and have not changed with age).

The main drawback is that they are not polarized. So for really long drives, regular polarized sunglasses would be better, and I have an old pair I can use for that. However, the drawback of driving glasses is that I cannot read directions, count change, or clearly see things inside the car because I need a different prescription for that.

One other minor drawback is that if I go from a very sunny outside place to a dark inside place, it takes a few minutes to adjust. Not a prohibitively long time, but it does take a few minutes in those conditions.

Another minor drawback is that once in a while, if the sun is coming from a certain angle, sometimes it seems there is a little bit of glare on the inside of the lenses, making it a little hard to see. This only happens once in a great while.

The alternative would be to use progressive lenses and separate sunglasses. Putting sunglasses on and off throughout the day, and putting the opposite pair of glasses in a case, was a big headache.

The transitions are so easy. I never have to remember to bring my sunglasses along, or fumble around changing glasses, or looking around for where I left my glasses, because I wear the same pair all day. They are rimless and have been very sturdy. I've had no problems at all with them physically.

Rachellelogram
03-22-2012, 01:49 PM
If I had a glob of spare cash like you mentioned, I'd prefer to have three pairs of prescription glasses: one that's darkly tinted & polarized for driving, one that's clear for indoor work, and one that's tinted gray for when I get a headache (and for driving on bright, cloudy days). Transitions are really expensive, and you are dependent on the lenses to change themselves. I'd rather just keep multiple pairs and switch them when I want to, instead of when the lenses want to.

FTR, I've heard (just a rumor, never owned a pair myself) that they can have issues in vehicles because they may not get dark enough when some of the UV is filtered out by the windshield glass.

Celidin
03-22-2012, 02:27 PM
I personally had to start getting glasses in my late teens, a few years after I started driving. I got transitions lenses cause they were all the rage (or something) at the time, the cost was ultimately cheaper for 1 pair vs 2 and I had a tendency to misplace sunglasses. This would have been late 90's. I am nearsighted, but not horrifically and mostly need glasses while driving to read road signs and the like.

I did a few pairs of glasses over the years with transitions, but gave them up about 2-3 years ago because they do not darken when driving, and that was really starting to bother me. I've switched to a two-pair system and I'm much happier. I also haven't misplaced them yet.

Plus, this gave me the opportunity to finally get that pair of Oakleys I always wanted :).

My suggestion - if you do a lot of driving, they won't change appropriately and that will get annoying. If you're more getting them for a lot of outside activities, they may work fine.

VOW
03-22-2012, 02:38 PM
Here is a VERY critical item that you MUST know about these lenses:

(do I have your attention?)

If your eyes are essentially equal in vision correction, Transitions will work for you. It's a personal preference, some say they don't get dark enough outside, others say they don't lighten completely indoors. You have to try it and see for yourself.

BUT!

If you need two VERY different prescriptions for each eye, don't waste your money. Look at the glasses you are wearing now. Is one lens noticeably thicker than the other?

Here's the deal: When the lenses were first developed, the "transitioning" was a coating on the lenses. Now it is actually particles which are suspended in the lens itself.

This means thicker lenses have more particles, so they get DARKER than thinner lenses. You, on the inside of the glasses, won't really be able to tell the difference.

People looking AT you are going to see one lens darker than the other. And it looks WEIRD.

Opticians have a lot of unhappy people bringing back their Transitions glasses and saying, "Forget it." It's to the point now that if someone is in this situation and wants to get Transitions, the optician will say, "Yeah, I can do that for you, but you won't like it."


~VOW

postcards
03-22-2012, 03:16 PM
...and mine are rimless...

Another minor drawback is that once in a while, if the sun is coming from a certain angle, sometimes it seems there is a little bit of glare on the inside of the lenses, making it a little hard to see. This only happens once in a great while.


I think being rimless is causing this.

And are you sure about the 'not polarized' part? I wore them decades ago and could've sworn they were.

Really Not All That Bright
03-22-2012, 03:20 PM
There are photochromic polarized sun lenses (though there weren't decades ago) but there are no polarized Transitions (it's a trademark)- that is, clear to dark, rather than dark to darker- lenses.

ZipperJJ
03-22-2012, 03:49 PM
If I had a glob of spare cash like you mentioned, I'd prefer to have three pairs of prescription glasses: one that's darkly tinted & polarized for driving, one that's clear for indoor work, and one that's tinted gray for when I get a headache (and for driving on bright, cloudy days). Transitions are really expensive, and you are dependent on the lenses to change themselves. I'd rather just keep multiple pairs and switch them when I want to, instead of when the lenses want to.

That's a swell idea but even someone with gobs of cash would run out of money pretty quickly if they need a new prescription every few years!

I can't function w/o my glasses and can't afford prescription sunglasses (I have a new prescription every 2 years or so) so I just got these Cocoons (http://cocoonseyewear.com/) which go over your glasses and look pretty awesome. I have big clunky frames like all the nerds wear these days and you can't even see them under the Cocoons.

RealityChuck
03-22-2012, 03:51 PM
It sounds like they won't work for me. I do have different prescriptions for each eye, and since they don't work in the car, they're pretty pointless.

ratatoskK
03-22-2012, 05:22 PM
If you need two VERY different prescriptions for each eye, don't waste your money. Look at the glasses you are wearing now. Is one lens noticeably thicker than the other?My two eyes are different, I don't know how much different you are talking about, but they make high index lenses now, and the thickness of my lenses is not apparently different and the darkness (when they're dark) is the same.

Phèdre nó Delaunay
03-22-2012, 05:29 PM
My husband has them and they do change pretty quickly, however they don't work in the car so he also has to have the clip on sunglasses too. Because of that, I kind of think it's a waste of money.

VOW
03-23-2012, 01:26 AM
My two eyes are different, I don't know how much different you are talking about, but they make high index lenses now, and the thickness of my lenses is not apparently different and the darkness (when they're dark) is the same.

I can't give you my exact prescription, because I'm not well versed in opti-speak. Suffice to say that one of my lenses is a negative number, and the other one is a positive number. And it is such a difference, the optician usually gets out a red pen and circles the numbers, so the lab understands that the differential is NOT a mistake.

The smaller lenses used today do help reduce the thickness, but if one lens is noticeably thicker than the other, there is a good chance there will be a difference in darkening capability.

And again, I was told that *I* wouldn't notice the difference, but people looking AT me would see one lens darker than the other.

Something to be discussed with the optical dispenser.


~VOW

Princhester
03-23-2012, 02:11 AM
Funny story. I'm a lawyer in the sub tropics. It's common to walk to court. Transitions lenses of course change gradually enough that you tend not to realise they have gone dark.

So I'm up at court waiting for my matter to come on. A young lawyer rushes in, no doubt having walked (or run) to court and his matter comes on straight away. The courts are very well air conditioned (to the point of being positively cold). The judge (who is known for being somewhat irrascible) comes in and this young lawyer stands up to speak only to be interrupted and bawled out for wearing his sunglasses in court, complete with comments about how "this isn't some American TV show you know" and "do you think you are too cool to take your sunglasses off" etc.

Poor guy. He of course had totally forgotten that his transitions lenses had gone dark, and in the air conditioning, remained that way.

Satchmo
03-23-2012, 05:54 AM
Echoing the downsides listed above with one to add. If you walk outside a lot, the transitions will darken up on cloudy days, since it's only UV light that triggers the change. This will make you look like, well, the sort of person that wears sunglasses on a cloudy day.

Doug K.
03-23-2012, 10:14 AM
I can't give you my exact prescription, because I'm not well versed in opti-speak. Suffice to say that one of my lenses is a negative number, and the other one is a positive number. And it is such a difference, the optician usually gets out a red pen and circles the numbers, so the lab understands that the differential is NOT a mistake.

The smaller lenses used today do help reduce the thickness, but if one lens is noticeably thicker than the other, there is a good chance there will be a difference in darkening capability.

And again, I was told that *I* wouldn't notice the difference, but people looking AT me would see one lens darker than the other.

Something to be discussed with the optical dispenser.


~VOW

Former (but longtime) optical dispenser here.

The above is only true of glass photochromics (i.e. Photogrey).

Transitions lenses are made using processes called Imbibition (for plastic) and Trans-Bonding (for polycarb and high index). The photochromic material is embedded in the front surface of the lens to a uniform thickness. You can actually see this if you look at the edge of an darkened lens. (That's would be why Bridget Burke thought it looked like a coating was coming off the edges in a rimless frame.)

If the lenses don't darken the same, it's not because of thickness. Either one lens is defective, or one of them is older than the other.

Dogzilla
03-23-2012, 10:46 AM
I've had 'em twice and hated 'em both times. There were many years in between attempts and the technology had improved, but I still hated 'em.

•They don't get dark enough, especially in really bright areas like the beach.
•They're not polarized.
•The lenses had to be heavier and thicker than non-Transition lenses.
•They don't work in the car.
•They took too long for my taste to transition back and forth.
•There always seems to be a very subtle yellow color to the lenses. '

I recently got my first pair of progressives. While I was at it, I got another pair of single-focal-point plain old polarized prescription shades, in super dark black. I won't be going back to try Transitions ever again.

d3mclean
03-26-2012, 11:02 AM
I work for Transitions Optical and want to correct a few of the misconceptions about our branded products. Like other technologies, Transitions brand lenses have evolved over the last decade. Unlike other photochromics and, similar to staining a piece of wood, the photochromic molecules in Transitions lenses—through proprietary processes—are applied to the lens in a process that makes the molecules a part of the lens. This process prevents a Transitions lens from peeling or cracking. This process also does not make the lens feel heavier or cause a thicker lens to react differently than a thin lens. We are coating the surface of the lens and the surface space is the same regardless of the lens thickness.

As for performance, original Transitions brand lenses are as clear as a clear lens indoors (no yellow tinting) and are activated by UV light. Visit our website (transitions.com) to learn more about performance, including what influences performance. In 2010 we introduced Transitions XTRActive lenses which is our darkest photochromic lens outdoors and, is also activated by visible light which allows it to moderately activate behind the windshield of a car, and for those seeking for polarization, in May of this year we will launch Transitions Vantage lenses, the first ever—in the world-- photochromic lens with variable polarization. Both of these products are available in the US and Canada from any independent eyecare professional and select retailers.

When you purchase Transitions lenses, please ask your eyecare professional for a Certificate of Authenticity. This is the only way to guarantee you are getting authentic Transitions lenses and not another brand of photocrhomics. Hopefully this helps clarify some of the comments. I’m happy to answer any additional questions.

Really Not All That Bright
03-26-2012, 11:24 AM
Oooh! Oooh! Me! How will the polarized photochromic work? Won't they appear to be tinted because of the polarized film?

d3mclean
03-27-2012, 11:11 AM
Oooh! Oooh! Me! How will the polarized photochromic work? Won't they appear to be tinted because of the polarized film?

Unlike traditional polarized lenses that use a film to create the polarized lens, Transitions Vantage lenses use the photocrhomic molecules to create a lens with variable polarization. Indoors, the lens is virtually clear and unpolarized and outdoors, as UV exposure increases, the lens darkens and the amount of polarization increases. The combination of these technologies provide the wearer with a crisper, sharper vision experience.

Doug K.
03-27-2012, 11:15 AM
Unlike traditional polarized lenses that use a film to create the polarized lens, Transitions Vantage lenses use the photocrhomic molecules to create a lens with variable polarization. Indoors, the lens is virtually clear and unpolarized and outdoors, as UV exposure increases, the lens darkens and the amount of polarization increases. The combination of these technologies provide the wearer with a crisper, sharper vision experience.

Sounds exciting. Things like this almost make me want to go back into optical.

Doug K.
03-27-2012, 11:22 AM
Too late to edit, but I should have asked: Will they (Transitions Vantage) be available in a progressive?

d3mclean
03-28-2012, 12:07 PM
Too late to edit, but I should have asked: Will they (Transitions Vantage) be available in a progressive?

It is pretty exciting, especially when you start to learn all of the science behind what it takes to create a non-film polarized lens that is also a photochromic lens. Availability will be limited at first but will include a digital progressive.

hellpaso
03-28-2012, 11:26 PM
Also depends on what you do for a living. A colleague of Mr. HP had them in the OR, and they wouldn't lighten up. So he spent the day administering anesthesia in shades. Not as cool as it sounds.

Becky2844
03-29-2012, 07:13 AM
If your eyes are sensitive to light I think they're a good idea. I never had a problem with them changing back and forth but IIRC they never became 100% clear, so I'd pick a tint I could live with, even tho the shading is slight. By now, tho, they could be improved so that they are totally clear. I'd ask.

doublevision
03-30-2012, 06:28 PM
hey are the Transition Vantage Lenses really available to the consumers in May? I just came back from Lenscrafters and i told them i wanted polarized transition lenses. Well on my receipt, it say Transition Vantage Grey. are these the vantage lenses? did lenscrafters received it first?

doublevision
04-01-2012, 11:38 AM
hey are the Transition Vantage Lenses really available to the consumers in May? I just came back from Lenscrafters and i told them i wanted polarized transition lenses. Well on my receipt, it say Transition Vantage Grey. are these the vantage lenses? did lenscrafters received it first?

ttt

Really Not All That Bright
04-01-2012, 12:48 PM
Turn them sideways and look through them at another polarized lens (while they're darkened). If they're actually polarized the other lens will appear opaque.

d3mclean
04-03-2012, 09:58 AM
hey are the Transition Vantage Lenses really available to the consumers in May? I just came back from Lenscrafters and i told them i wanted polarized transition lenses. Well on my receipt, it say Transition Vantage Grey. are these the vantage lenses? did lenscrafters received it first?

LensCrafters was amongst a few select retail and independent eyecare professionals to carry the product in advance of the May launch. Hopefully you are enjoying them!

ratatoskK
04-03-2012, 04:11 PM
hey are the Transition Vantage Lenses really available to the consumers in May? I just came back from Lenscrafters and i told them i wanted polarized transition lenses. Well on my receipt, it say Transition Vantage Grey. are these the vantage lenses? did lenscrafters received it first?When you get them, tell us how you like them!

otternell
04-03-2012, 04:54 PM
I have a pair and didn't realize the UV issue with windshields until I actually drove away with them on. Next time I go in, I'll buy a pair of prescription shades for driving or riding in cars. Otherwise I like mine.

Ogre
04-03-2012, 05:35 PM
I have 'em. Hate the way they look on me. Will probably not get them in the future, and will stick with contacts/sunglasses.

Ethilrist
04-04-2012, 01:38 PM
People looking AT you are going to see one lens darker than the other. And it looks WEIRD.
No, it means I get to look like Le Schiffre in Casino Royale, which would be AWESOME.

RealityChuck
04-04-2012, 04:09 PM
More likely, you'd look like Carmine DeSapio (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:TIME_Cover_-_Carmine_De_Sapio_Aug._22,_1955.jpg), whose glasses where a major factor in the end of Tammany Hall when he was in charge of it.

doublevision
04-05-2012, 12:01 PM
When you get them, tell us how you like them!

i will, look forward to it. my glasses haven't came in yet. I did confirm that i was getting the Transition Vantage lenses through lenscrafters since they are part of a pre launch. I also spoke to a transitions rep who also confirm it. My glasses should cost me 750 bucks with all the bells and whistles but my insurance paid 500 bucks and i only have to pay $250!

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