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From Light to Dark: Transitions® Technology Revolutionizes Contact Lenses

Glass photochromic lenses have been around since the 1960s, while plastic ones weren’t developed until in 1991. For decades, these glasses have darkened in the sunlight, allowing people to avoid the inconvenience of changing their frames whenever they move between the indoors and outdoors.

A joint endeavour between Johnson & Johnson Vision and Transitions® Optical now yields an innovative technology: photochromic contact lenses. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially approved ACUVUE OASYS® with Transitions® Light Intelligent Technology™, which automatically controls your eyes’ exposure to light sources. They are soft lenses and reusable for up to 2 weeks before you’ll need to use a new pair, and they are expected to be available in early 2019.


 Transition contact lenses - image from Johnson & Johnson

Photo: Johnson & Johnson

How does it work?

These contact lenses are coated with a photochromic additive that reacts to UV light. In other words, the dye automatically senses UV and short-wave visible light and will tint the lens to filter its intensity. According to Malvina Eydelman of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, “this contact lens is the first of its kind to incorporate the same technology that is used in eyeglasses that automatically darken in the sun.”

Not only do the lenses protect your eyes from sunlight—they also reduce exposure to visible, clear, white, and harmful blue light.

Who can wear them?

Photochromic contact lenses are suitable for people who are nearsighted, farsighted, and for some with certain types of astigmatism. However, Johnson & Johnson warns that people with eye infections, eye diseases or injuries, or dry eye or allergic conditions should avoid wearing them.

This product may be of particular interest to people with an active lifestyle and prefer not to wear glasses during their exercise. ACUVUE OASYS® with Transitions® will automatically adapt to manage the amount of light your eyes are directly exposed to, so you’ll no longer have to squint throughout your run or your soccer game.


Unfortunately, these photochromic contact lenses are not a replacement for sunglasses since they do not cover your full eye. It is recommended to continue using sunglasses as required to protect your eyes from UV rays. Rather, the benefit of Transitions® contact lenses lies in their overall ability to optimize your exposure to light sources in any environment. This product will filter the intense lighting inside the office while also protecting your eyes from the blue light transmitting from your computer screen. Who knows—it may just be a matter of time before the next generation of Transitions® contacts are produced that could replace your sunglasses!


If you have questions about photochromic lenses, contacts, or anything regarding your eye health, connect with an optometrist at your local FYidoctors today.