Transition Lenses: Do You like Them?

Updated on June 27, 2011
M.E. asks from Deerfield, IL
17 answers

I wear glasses all the time and usually switch from glasses to sunglasses when I go outside. Would like to not have to do this. Do you have transition lenses and do you like them? Years ago I was told that they would not darken if you were in a car - that they need to have directly sunlight so they will darken. Thank you!

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answers from Washington DC on

2 of my kids wear them and love them. My son stopped having sunshine induced migraines because if them.
You have to let them sit in a very sunny spot for a whole day, maybe 2 even. Let them soak up the sun. THen wear them.
My oldest is out of the house but never mentioned anything abotu driving, he now won't even wear glasses. My daughter has never complained in teh car, but she doesn't drive yet.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Biloxi on

I have them.
I like them, but...
they don't get as dark as sunglasses, and they do take a little while to adjust once I come in from outside. They do not transition in the car.

When I renew my prescription I plan to get sunglasses made with just my middle and distance vision. It is really bright here in the deep south. :)

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Jacksonville on

I had them for awhile. I found them annoying. Mainly because the "transition" is not fast enough. If you walk across the parking lot then enter a building with low lighting, you are literally in the dark for a minute or two. Or when driving, if you pull into a parking garage--- you can't see! Or if you drive through a tunnel. For a few moments (long enough that it is scary) you can't see well enough... but you can't take them off or you still can't see!

I opted to get prescription sunglasses made and just recently had it done again. Usually, if you get them made at the same time as your regular lenses, you can get a 2nd pair type discount. I always get my sunglasses polarized as well.
Yes it is annoying to have to carry the extra pair around and switch them out. But I find that I am MUCH happier with the actual wearing and visibility of both pairs.

After reading some of the other responses... perhaps they have changed the technology since I had mine... b/c mine got darker in the car. Otherwise, it wouldn't have been a problem driving through tunnels or pulling into parking garages. And it WAS a problem for me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I love mine. I was never one to change my glasses when I drove or went outside so this has been a great solution. I have had them for a couple of years now and recommend them highly.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Yes, I like mine a lot.
I also have RX sunglasses for the car or outside when wearing a visor.
Since they don't darken in the car, I would highly recommend RX sunglasses or the clip on shades for driving, especially in CA.

I really like mine, especially while outside, like mountain biking and hiking because if I'm wearing regular glasses, it's off and on constantly and switching back and forth between sun and shade.

The transition back to light can be a little slow but not as complicated switching.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I do have a pair of Transition lenses and they do not get dark like regular sunglasses unless you are in direct sunlight. Our cars all have safety glass and the uv rays that make the sunglasses darker don't get through our windshields.
I do have another pair of glasses that have sunglasses made for the frames of my regular glasses and they attach by magnets. I like these very much but they are expensive.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Michele, I am a great grandmother who only started wearing reading glasses from the drug store after forty and finally had to wear glasses for clarity and distance only four years ago. I chose transition and didn't even realize they weren't working in the car at first.
I go to Kaiser and when I talked with them about the diving problem they said that the glasses would only work in direct sunlight, not behind the windshield. They sell a darkening shade that slips down behind the glass and rests lightly on my cheek. They get so comfortable that I sometimes forget to take them off to go into stores and then I have to put them in my purse (instead of where they belong in one of the pockets of the car).

Transitions are great if you need a couple of corrections (I have three on mine) and the darkening inserts are very inexpensive. I have never had prescription sun glasses.

I think you will like them.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Salt Lake City on

I love mine. They don't really darken in the car, but the glare isn't usually as bad there. I know some people have clip-on sunglasses just for driving.

They can take a minute to go light when it's cold. But usually it's not bad at all.

I have a really strong prescription with astigmatism correction as well, so for me it was much more economical to get the transitions that Rx sunglasses.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

love them the only bad thing with them is when you go inside it takes a minute for them to lighten.I have to stand stil for about 30 seconds or so

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

yeah, they will not darken if you are behind glass, like a windshield. That's why I wont wear them. Instead I went to Walgreens and bought sunglasses that you can just put over your regular glasses and never looked back.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from El Paso on

My dad has had "transition" lenses for as long as I can remember. We have pictures from when I was a baby/toddler where you can see that he had them on. I think (not sure) that as long as your windows aren't tinted, they would go ahead and work in the car. I know my dad had/has some sunglasses that he puts on OVER his regular glasses sometimes, but I'm not sure if that's just because they have the protection for your periferal vision, or because the "transitions" don't work as well as he would like.

Another option would be a pair of prescription sunglasses (the route my mom took). Just another idea!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

They do help but they don't get really dark like sunglasses do. I prefer having prescription sunglasses because they provide more darkness. I would still squint w/ the transistions. If you only like light protection from the light, then I would rec. them.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I have had them for almost 2 years now and I'm still undecided if I like them. I chose the darkest option but they don't get dark enough to wear for long periods of time outdoors.

My biggest complaint is they don't lighten very quickly. I hate going into a store and looking like I'm trying to be cool in dark glasses. I will usually take them off to let them lighten when I first walk in.

They do not darken inside the car because most auto glass has UV protectant built in and its the UV rays the glasses react to. I've been known to open the car window at stop lights and hold them in the sunlight to let them darken while I wait for the green.

For me, I love the frames but will probably have clear lenses put into them next time.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

I have so many friends who have transitions. They like it.
My one friend said, she has her prescription sunglasses only as a 'back-up' and uses it only IF she will be outside in the sun ALL day. Other than that her transition lenses are just fine.

But yes, I have heard that in a car, it will not darken, nor as much.

My Mom, has those 'clip-on' type shades to go on/over her prescription glasses. Like flip tops. She likes it.
Then, she also has 'sunglasses' that fit OVER your entire glasses. It is plastic and it goes over your existing glasses as you wear them.
So, I was gonna get one too, either style. My Husband says "NO, only those Grannies/Grandpas wear those." (which in my State, does seem to be the case).

But I am getting Transition lenses. I finally decided.
I still have my prescription sunglasses though.
But I get SO tired of having to switch back and forth, between my regular glasses and my sunglasses. Constantly.

*My Optometrist said, they are NOT "sunglasses." They are transitional lenses. So if someone expects them to behave like sunglasses, they will be disappointed.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I know people who really like them. However, I knew a woman who wore them all the time. She was recently killed in a car accident and the fact that she did not have regular sunglasses on may have been the problem. She was coming around a big curve in the mountains around dusk and was blinded by the sun. Some people speculate that the sun hit her eyes so quickly, that the glasses did not have time to change and she did not see that she was out of her lane and subsequently hit a semi head-on. Obviously this accident was not necessarily the fault of the glasses, but if she had been wearing regular sunglasses while driving, she may have been able to see. Please wear regular sunglasses while driving.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

I have transition glasses and love them. I do not have to put dark glasses on when I go outside (which I tended not to do). The darkest shade on mine is still lighter than most sunglasses, but that lets me walk in and out of shade without feeling blinded. They don't clear instantly when I go inside, but I have no problem seeing where I'm going, and they do clear fairly quickly.
They do not darken in the car, but I have a pair of sunglasses that fit over my glasses that I keep in the car.
Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I have them and love them. As mentioned earlier, the transition does take a while. It seems to bother me more when I come inside from being outside, so I might take them off for a couple of seconds then put them on so it's not so distracting. I like them so much, because I used to have the rx sunglasses and switch--I liked to have a cooler sunglass look, but when they were broken, I just never bothered to replace them and since I try to be a minimalist (I hate to have to carry around a bunch of stuff in my purse), the transition lenses were perfect for me. As far as in the car, the do adjust slightly, just enough for me. I guess it has to do with the fact that your car windshield is treated to block out certain sunrays (ultraviolet?) and those are the ones that cause the transition lenses to darken, but the windshield doesn't block it all out, so they at least mine do darken a bit.

Okay enough of the love about the transition lenses. When I bought mine they also offered an anti-glare treatment. I paid the extra $--I can't tell any difference and wish I hadn't spent the money on that.

So there you are with my opinion. Good luck :-)

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