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How do I Know If My Lenses are Photochromic?

If you are not new to using glasses then you are probably fa...

If you are not new to using glasses then you are probably familiar with photochromic lenses. They are designed to change their characteristics (color) to changing light conditions such as bright outdoor sunlight or lighter indoors.  


How do I Know If My Lenses are Photochromic


This singular characteristic makes them a top choice for people who do not want to switch between different pairs of glasses in changing light conditions. 

However, if you are new to glasses and stumbled on photochromic lenses you may be wondering if your glasses are made with photochromic lenses or not. In this blog, we'll explore different ways to activate the photochromic reaction that distinguishes photochromic lenses from other lenses.


What Triggers photochromic Glasses?

The molecules that make up a photochromic lens (Photochromic lenses) are triggered when they are exposed to UV light and this is what causes them to darken. The amount of UV light needed to trigger this change depends on the type of Lens that is being used however they all generally start to darken when exposed to sunlight (even when the sun is stuck behind a stubborn cloud)


How do I know If My Glasses are Photochromic? 

You’ve got new glasses but you aren't sure if they are photochromic glasses. There are a few tricks to confirm if your glasses are photochromic or not. All you need to do is set up different lighting conditions that can trigger photochemical reactions seen in photochromic lenses. 

Here are a few things to do to activate a photochromic lens. If your glasses darken under these conditions, you are likely to have photochromic glasses in your hands.


Go Outdoor in the Open

The easiest way to activate a photochromic glass is to go outside on a sunny day because photochromic lenses are activated by UV lights and they are abundant in sunlight. 

A photochromic lens will start to darken the second they are exposed to the sun on a bright day. However, note that this test may be negative if done in a car. photochromic lenses don't work well in cars generally because the windshield of the car blocks a significant amount of UV rays from the sun. 

Use a UV Flashlight


How do I Know If My Lenses are Photochromic?


Perhaps it is not so sunny where you stay and you can't wait for the sun to come out to confirm the type of lens you use. You can simply get a UV flashlight to activate your photochromic lens. 

You can easily get a UV flashlight from your local hardware store or an online store that delivers fast. If your lenses darken when you expose them to the beam from your flashlight, you definitely own a pair of photochromic glasses.


Use a UV lamp

A good alternative if you can’t get a UV flashlight is to use a UV lamp. And, no, UV lamps don't look anything like UV flashlights. 

UV lamps are often used in tanning beds and can emit enough UV light to activate your lenses and confirm if they are photochromic. However, be careful not to expose yourself to too much UV rays as they can be harmful to your skin.


Don't Conclude too quickly. 

Don't be quick to judge if your lenses don't darken quickly when exposed to UV lights. 

A good-quality photochromic lens can darken in a few seconds. However, most photochromic lenses take about 30-60 seconds to darken when exposed to ultraviolet light. They can even take up to a few minutes depending on the brand and the photochromic molecules in your photochromic lenses.  Similarly, when you go back indoors, the lenses will gradually lighten up.


If any of this doesn't work, no need to fret you can order a pair of Photochromic glasses from Maat Optical.


What Are Some Common Misconceptions About photochromic Lenses?


How do I Know If My Lenses are Photochromic?


There are a few common misconceptions about photochromic lenses that we'd like to clear up:


Do Photochromic lenses work inside the car?

Yes, but much of the ultraviolet radiation that activates the photosensitive lenses is absorbed by the windshield, and they are not as dark inside the car as they would be outside. However, some newer cars have windshields that allow more UV light to pass through, which can activate the lenses.

Although Photochromic lenses provide some degree of protection from in-car glare, some users may prefer a pair of sunglasses for long-term driving.


Do Photochromic lenses replace conventional sunglasses?

For general use - whether indoors, outdoors, day or night - Photochromic lenses offer excellent visual performance and glare protection. However, in intense sunlight, in high-temperature environments, inside automobiles with windshields that block most ultraviolet radiation, or in environments with intense reflections from surfaces such as water and snow, a unique pair of glasses made under prescription with a fixed shade will offer better protection against glare and more visual comfort.


They don't work in cold temperatures

Some people believe that photochromic lenses won't darken in cold temperatures. While it's true that extreme cold can affect the lenses' performance, they should still darken in most normal temperature conditions.


Photochromic Lenses are always Dark

Photochromic lenses are not always dark as some people believe. Photochromic lenses are designed to adjust to changing light conditions, so they won't always get very dark. The amount of darkening depends on the amount of UV light present. If you're in an area with low UV light, your lenses won't get as dark as they would in bright sunlight.


How do I Know If My Lenses are Photochromic?


Final Words

Now you know how to differentiate a photochromic lens from a non-photochromic lens. If you found out your lenses are photochromic, great, now you have a stylish and practical two-in-one solution for people who don't want to carry around multiple pairs of glasses. 

However, if you found out your glasses are clear glasses and you want photochromic glasses, Maat Optical has been dedicated to the art of producing photochromic lenses for more than 20 years and they are ready to satisfy all your photochromic lens needs.

Jay Zhang

Jay Zhang, with over 5 years of experience, currently serves as the Sales Manager at JIANGSU MAAT OPTICAL TECHNOLOGY CO LTD. He specializes in research and development, as well as manufacturing, of photochromic lenses with a wide range of optional colors. In his role, Jay excels in marketing, customer-focused service, ensuring service quality, and enhancing the overall customer experience. His expertise lies in the commerce sector, contributing to the success of the company in the dynamic Chinese market since January 2023.

Learn More About Jay Zhang

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