If you wear glasses, chances are you’ve dealt with the annoyance of glasses in sunlight. Regular eyeglass lenses are often too light and cause you to squint, but carrying a pair of prescription sunglasses around can be inconvenient. Transitions give you the perfect medium: lenses that are clear indoors and at night while darkening outside to be worn as both glasses and sunglasses. They also have UV and blue light protection regardless of their tint—all Transitions lenses have 100% UV protection, while the amount of blue light protection varies. Want to know more about transition lenses? Read below and check out this video with Eyeglass Tyler to learn more.

Table of Contents

1. What is Transition or Photochromic Lens?
2. Can Photochromic Lenses Be Made to Transition Faster?
3. How Long Do Transitions Last?
4. What Color Options Do Transition Lenses Come In
5. Do Transitions Lenses Work While Driving a Car?
6. Four Types of Transition Lenses

What is Transition or Photochromic Lens?

Transitions is a brand name for the more generic term, photochromic. It reacts to excessive light and UV exposure. These are the lens that gets darker when you walk outside. The tints vary too, you can get them from a light to a dark or medium to dark, really it’s up to you and your preferences.

Can Photochromic Lenses Be Made to Transition Faster?

We get this question a fair amount, so let’s solve it right now. Basically, because these lenses are light reactive, there isn’t one sure way to make the transition process speed up. However, because transitions are the brand name there are different models that you can get to best suit your needs. These are the few types you can choose from.

1. Transitions Signature
2. Transitions XTRActive
3. Transitions Drivewear
4. Transitions Vantage

How Long Do Transitions Last?

Historically the longevity of transitions lens has a life expectancy, sometimes about 1-2 years. They get a permanent tint to them and won’t be as reactive. Thankfully though, transitions have improved so its closer to 2 years which is a good mark to get your prescription updated anyway. So just in time to get yourself a new pair of glasses.

What Color Options Do Transition Lenses Come In?

There are a fair number of color options within the transition brand but lets only talk about the most popular two. That’s brown & gray. Gray is a good option for neutral color perception viewing, it’s also the darkest option. Brown is a good option if you want to contrast enhancement; which is great for sports and terrains.

Do Transitions Lenses Work While Driving a Car?

Transitions react primarily to UV exposure, and your windows and windshield have UV resistance treatment so the light is not going to make your lenses change. However, the Drive Wear option lenses will change a bit, about a medium amber to a dark brown tint. They work fine in cloudy or overcast days but they won’t get as dark as if you were exposed to the UV light fully.

Four Types of Transition Lenses

Transitions Signature

Transitions Signature Transitions Signature

The standard Transitions lens meets the needs of most glasses-wearers, changing from clear indoors to a medium tint outdoors—because the darkness of the tint depends on the amount of UV light present, the lens will be darker in bright sunlight compared to a cloudy day. Indoors or at night, Transitions Signature lenses are as clear as standard glasses. They feature Transitions’ Chromea7 technology for the fastest and most responsive lens yet and are best suited for everyday wear.

One important thing to note is since the lens dye works in contact with UV light, Transitions Signature lenses do not tint while driving, though other varieties do.

Transitions XTRActive

Transitions XTRActive Transitions XTRActive

The Transitions XTRActive lens is quickly becoming a popular option because it goes from almost clear while indoors or at night to completely dark in the sun. And we’ll be honest, the indoor tint is hardly noticeable—these work perfectly fine as regular glasses.

The main concern glasses-wearers have with the Transitions Signature lens is that it doesn’t get dark enough in the sun; the XTRActive lens solves that. It’s also activated by both UV light and available light, so though it becomes slightly tinted in the car, this tint is generally not enough if you’re looking for good driving sunglasses. But if you do an outdoor sport or spend a lot of time in the sun, the XTRActive lens is for you.

→Fun Fact: The reason this chart notes “even in high temperatures” is because the chemical reaction that causes photochromic lenses to tint is somewhat affected by temperature as well as UV light. They tend to get much darker in cold weather (and take longer to turn clear). However, the XTRActive will be at its darkest even in warm weather.

Transitions Drivewear

Transitions Drivewear Transitions Drivewear


Transitions Drivewear are sunglasses optimized for driving that change from a lighter, olive-green tint to a darker brown one depending on the light conditions. They are also polarized to reduce glare while driving. Since they start off with a tint, they are not recommended for indoor use. But if you do a lot of driving and expect frequent changes in weather conditions, these might be the sunglasses for you.

Transitions Vantage

Transitions Vantage Transitions Vantage


The Transitions Vantage lens goes from almost clear when indoors to a medium tint outdoors like the standard Transitions. It also becomes polarized when it tints, a unique feature made possible by aligning the dye molecules to create a polarized filter that blocks glare. This lens has more of an indoor tint and does not get as dark as the XTRActive, but if you’re involved in a water-based sport such as fishing, polarization makes a difference.


Why Should I Get Transitions Over the Generic Photochromic Lens?

Though the cost of Transitions is higher, they have better quality than other photochromic lenses on the market. Oftentimes, the photochromic capability is applied as a thin laminated film on the lens; thus, it can start to peel away over time. Since the dye in Transitions is part of the lens, it’s far more durable. There are also other variations between brands such as response time and how dark the tint gets. Overall, it’s best to go with Transitions.

Which Transitions Lenses Are Best for My Sport?

To quickly recap, the Signature and Drivewear are best for daily use, the XTRActive is best for most athletes, and the Vantage is best for water-related activities. When in doubt, ask us!

Which Eyeglass Frames Support Transitions Lenses?

Most of them. When placing your order with us, you’ll see the option to include Transitions lenses under “Features.” You can then choose which type of Transitions will suit you best.

→Tip: Add an anti-reflective coating! This will make the lens look even clearer at night and indoors because it blocks out reflections from the lenses themselves and thus lets more light enter your eyes. This is especially handy with the XTRActive and Vantage lenses.

Are Transitions lenses good for kids?

Yes! It’s never too early to start protecting your eyes from the sun, and since children’s’ crystalline lens (the structure behind the iris that focuses light onto your retina) isn’t fully developed yet, it’s even more important to have good sun protection. Check out our list of some great glasses and sunglasses for kids here, and read more about the importance of eye exams for children here.

Get Prescription Sunglasses and Glasses with Transitions Online at SportRx!

To learn more about our pre-built custom lenses, check out our complete guide here.

Need prescription Transition lenses? Done. When you shop with us, you’ll find video guides and tooltips throughout the build process as you customize the perfect pair. An answer to all your questions is at your fingertips, and if you want to chat with an expert, Contact Us. We’ll put you in touch with one of our friendly in-house opticians who can help you build your prescription Transitions.

Ditch risky online shopping with the See Better Guarantee. Try your Transitions for 45 days. If you’re not satisfied, send them back. Get a full refund, exchange, or credit towards a better pair. And return shipping? Covered. Get your pair of prescription Transitions lenses at SportRx today!