Transitions Vantage Review

Posted on August 19, 2012 · Posted in Eyeglasses

I was fortunate enough to finally get my eyes behind the new Transitions Vantage lenses and figured what better time to update my thoughts from our previous blog post, The World’s First Variable Polarized Photochromic Lens.

For those unfamiliar, the Transitions Vantage lens promises all the benefits of traditional adaptive lenses that change color based on UV exposure, but adds glare-cutting polarization.  As a fan of polarized sunglasses and the convenience of adaptive lenses, I had eagerly awaited the arrival of this product.

I had questioned how effective variable polarization could be and, while not as strong as in a dedicated pair of polarized sunglasses, the level of polarization Vantage provides did noticeably decrease glare on water and enhance skies. Impressively, the lens is also virtually clear indoors.

So far so good.  What about reaction time?  The first time I stepped outside with the Vantage lens, I was impressed with how quickly it darkened.  I’d also say that the Vantage’s endpoint was darker than my traditional Transitions’.  But the reaction time when stepping back inside was a different story with the Vantage playing the tortoise to the traditional Transitions’ hare.

Naturally (or at least I’m telling myself it’s natural), I had to run a comparison test of lightening time.

Notes:  Top pair of glasses in each picture was fabricated in Feb 2012 with 1.67 index lenses, Crizal Avance, and traditional Transitions. Bottom pair of glasses was fabricated in July 2012 with polycarbonate lenses, Crizal Sapphire, and Transitions Vantage.  (Yes, I realize that it would have been more scientific to compare identical lens and anti-reflective materials, but I was working with what I had).  Both glasses were simultaneously subjected to 10 minutes of direct sunlight in 50°F.  After 10 minutes, both pairs were transported inside to 65°F, placed away from windows, and compared at 5 minute time intervals.

Lenses in clear state

Lenses in darkened state after 10 minutes of direct sunlight

5 minutes after taken out of sun

11 minutes after taken out of sun

15 minutes after taken out of sun. Traditional Transitions (top) virtually clear.

20 minutes after taken out of sun

Transitions Vantage lenses 25 minutes after taken out of sun

After 25 minutes, I gave up because:

  1. The point had been made that these lenses take some time to clear up
  2. It was Sunday and I was getting funny looks from family members

In summary, I do like these lenses.  While not as strong a polarization as a dedicated pair of polarized sunglasses, they do offer advantages in glare reduction/comfort that can’t be matched by traditional Transitions lenses.  The slow clearing of the lens when going inside will naturally be a turn-off to some, but I’ll throw out the idea that this doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing.  For example, walking to the car after work could provide a level of darkening that provides comfort until the wearer gets home (something a standard Transitions wearer knows isn’t feasible) despite the UV blockage by the windshield.  And in all fairness to the lens creators, it wasn’t designed to be the be-all/end-all ophthalmic lens.  Instead, it was designed to supplement a person’s lens options.  And it does that quite well.