Transition Contact Lenses, by Benjamin V. Clingan, OD

Back in April, the FDA approved contact lenses with light adaptive technology (Transition coating).  For those of you who may not know, Transition coatings for glasses enable the lenses to darken at outside and then lighten indoors.  Thus, they “transition” from normal clear lenses to sunglasses once exposed to UV light from the sun.  Many patients love this feature and never purchase glasses without it.

Acuvue Oasys with Transitions is the first contact lens coming to market with this technology.  It is not available yet, but it is planned to be available during the first half of 2019.  So, in roughly 6 months, you can have this technology in your contact lenses.

Now this may seem like a perfect marriage and you will never need a pair of glasses or sunglasses again.  If you notice carefully on the advertising, the first warning is that these contact lenses DO NOT replace sunglasses.  It may seem a bit nitpicky at first, but sunglasses do a lot more than just darken your vision.  Ask your dermatologist what they think about sunglasses.

Sunglasses do significantly help your vision in bright situations and help avoid glare.  If you have been skiing lately or if you can remember a summer day on the water, you know the benefits from wearing sunglasses.  Sunglasses also prevent UV damage around your eyes.

Skin cancer is not good anywhere on your body, but it is especially critical around your eyes.  Taking a bump/lump off of your back may leave a small scar with no serious side effects.  Taking a bump/lump off of your eyelid may seriously alter how they function.  This can lead to severe dry eye problems that will be close to impossible to treat.

Technology is always improving and will find ways to better our lives.  These transition contact lenses can certainly do that, but buyers beware.  Don’t forget about the tried and true approaches we have used for years.  Under specific circumstances, for a limited time, and lots of sunscreen these lenses do have a purpose (marathons, triathlons, or terrain races come to mind).  But for everyday use or periods of long sun exposure, don’t forget your sunglasses.

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