Which Photochromic Lenses Should I Get?
Photochromic lenses — lenses that are clear indoors and darken when exposed to sunlight — offer a convenient way to protect your eyes outdoors from UV rays and bright light without having to carry around a pair of sunglasses.
Zenni offers three types of photochromic lenses: Zenni photochromic lenses, Transitions® VII photochromic lenses, and Vision Ease LifeRx® impact-resistant polycarbonate photochromic lenses.
We answered some of the most frequently asked questions below to help you determine which photochromic lenses are right for you.
Do all photochromic lenses darken the same?
There are some differences in the degree of darkening between all three brands. We tested all the photochromic lenses we offer in our optics lab and found that, in general, the Transitions® VII photochromic lenses get a little bit darker than the Zenni photochromic lenses and up to 25% darker than the Vision Ease LifeRx® polycarbonate photochromic lenses.
Transitions® VII gray and brown tints darken anywhere from 65%-80% in bright sunlight. The degree of darkening in the Zenni photochromic lenses depends on the lens tint. For example, the gray and amber tints darken anywhere from 50%-70% in bright sunlight, whereas the purple, blue, and rose tints darken anywhere from 30%-50%.
The Vision Ease LifeRx® polycarbonate photochromic lenses in gray and brown darken to around 55% in bright sunlight.
It is important to note that all photochromic lenses typically do not darken inside cars because of the UV protection on windshields and windows.
How long does it take for the photochromic lenses to transition between clear and tinted?
Transitions® VII photochromic lenses only take about 35 seconds to a minute darken, whereas Zenni and Vision East LifeRx® photochromic lenses take on average a couple of minutes to fully darken.
What is the difference between polycarbonate photochromic lenses and regular photochromic lenses?
Polycarbonate photochromic lenses are more impact-resistant than regular photochromic lenses. The Vision Ease LifeRx® polycarbonate photochromic lenses are a good choice for rimless glasses and kids’ glasses.
How does each brand compare in price?
There is a significant price difference between Zenni photochromic lenses and the other two brands.
Zenni photochromic lenses range in price from $19-$29, depending on the tint; Vision Ease LifeRx® polycarbonate photochromic lenses are $66; and Transitions® VII photochromic lenses range in price from $69-$169, depending on the lens index.
What lens index is available for each type of photochromic lenses?
Zenni photochromic lenses are available in 1.61; Vision Ease LifeRx® polycarbonate photochromic lenses are available in 1.59; and Transitions® VII are available in 1.50, 1.61, and 1.67.
Are photochromic lenses available for progressives and bifocals?
Progressives can be ordered with any photochromic lenses. For bifocals, only the 1.57 Zenni photochromic lenses are available.