Though Transitions lenses get a bad reputation for their inherent geekiness, even the most ardent haters might warm to newly announced Acuvue Oasys contact lenses with Transitions Light Intelligent Technology.
Or, in other words, contact lenses that double as sunglasses.
The U.S. Food & Drug Administration announced its approval last week, noting in a statement that these are “the first contact lens to incorporate an additive that automatically darkens the lens when exposed to bright light.”
In a statement from Johnson & Johnson Vision, the company that manufactures the lenses, the company’s Global Head of R&D Xiao-Yu Song noted that the decision to blend Transitions technology with Acuvue lenses “was born out of deep research into consumer lifestyle needs and fits our future-forward approach to caring for human sight.”
The National Eye Institute recommends wearing sunglasses for the prevention of cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye problems caused by exposure to the sun’s powerful UV rays. You wear sunscreen to protect your skin (right?) – why would protecting your eyes be any different?
Still, tinted lenses differ pretty drastically from a fashionable pair of sunglasses. As Allure reports, a contact lens doesn’t protect the full eye area from UV rays. Plus, as Digital Trends noted, it’s worth wondering how darkened contact lenses might affect the wearer’s appearance on sunny days.
As Donna Lorenson, vice president of communications at Johnson & Johnson Vision told us via email, the lenses are designed to minimize a change in eye appearance while staying effective.
“While outdoors the level of activation is always changing in response to the light, so in most situations the lens isn’t in the darkest state. These lenses also fade back to clear quickly when you come inside. The activation and fade rates of ACUVUE® OASYS with Transitions® will typically be faster than glasses due to consistent human body temperature and the optimized photochromic additive. Because these lenses are constantly maintained at eye temperature, environmental temperature would have a minimal effect with on-eye photochromic performance (activation, darkness, and fade rates).”
Still, we have about a year to go before we can try Transitions contact lenses for ourselves. Per Johnson & Johnson Vision, the product won’t hit the market until sometime in early 2019.
In the meantime, it might be time to reassess your feelings on Transitions lenses. Even Tim Gunn approves!