The photochromics category is buzzing with new products and tech developments—it’s not your father’s clear-to-dark anymore. Get your practice up to speed with our roundup of the hottest products to know right now.

It’s a whole new ball game in the photochromics category. New technology has stormed the scene and left the everyday photochromics market positively buzzing with new offerings.

Photochromic R&D efforts have, just within the past year, catapulted the technology from simply clear to dark and a choice of brown or gray to a level of performance that is leaving your parents’ photochromics in the dust.

And it’s making an impact on sales.

According to Eyecare Business’ 2018 Spectacle Lens Virtual Focus Group study, photochromics are the second most popular lens treatment, right after AR, with 38% of respondents saying photochromic is their top-selling lens treatment.

There are plenty of reasons to be talking to your patients about the new trends in photochromics:

Performance. Faster activation and fadeback times. Darker tints. And tint activation behind the windshield of a car (certain products).

Color. Sure, brown and gray are still on the menu. But in many products it’s a richer brown and a more striking gray. New colors have popped up on the market that are making photochromics, well, pop when activated. Blues, purples, reds, and rich greens can give patients’ everyday lenses a true sunglass style when they go outside.

Mirrors. They aren’t just for sunglasses anymore. Clear lenses indoors can not only tint to a fashionable color but can also activate a very on-trend and sought-after mirror look (certain products).

Protection. Photochromics offer patients protection from both the potential perils of HEV blue light exposure (indoors and out) and the known risks of UV damage to the eye.

To help you figure out the scope of what brands offer within these new technologies, we present a roundup of the newest tech-forward features from some of the major players in the photochromic market.


of responding ECPs say new lens technology + innovation is important when choosing lens brands to offer patients

Source: EB 2018 Spectacle Lens Virtual Focus Group

of respondents say lens performance is the feature they stress most when discussing product with patients

Source: EB 2018 Spectacle Lens Virtual Focus Group


Transitions Optical has three main product offerings: Transitions Signature VII lenses, Transitions XTRActive lenses (the darkest tint in the family, and they activate behind the windshield), and Transitions Vantage lenses (they polarize as they activate, offering patients added comfort against glare).

On-Trend Tech: The just-released Transitions Signature lenses style colors add a range of colors (amber, emerald, sapphire, amethyst) to Transitions Signature lenses' existing gray, brown, and graphite green portfolio. Transitions XTRActive style mirrors add a fashionable mirror (in six color finishes) to Transitions XTRActive lenses.



HOYA’s Sensity light reactive lenses feature Stabilight Technology that ensures performance regardless of climate or season. They darken to a category 3 sun tint and quickly fade back to clear when the ambient light intensity diminishes.

On-Trend Tech: New Sensity Shine offers a fashion-forward clear-to-dark mirror coating in three colors (green, brown, and gray) and darkens behind the windshield. Sensity Dark employs a darker tint when activated and can also activate behind the windshield. Sensity Dark has three color options—bronze brown, silver gray, and emerald green.




Known for its expertise with polycarbonate material, Vision Ease Photochromic offers patients an affordable light-reactive lens with, the company states, competitive activation and fade-back times.

On-Trend Tech: Vision Ease has recently added a rich brown color to its original gray color lens tint offering.



The SunSync Light-Reactive Lenses portfolio includes SunSync, SunSync DriveXT (an extra-active dark option that is activated by UV and visible light, allowing it to darken behind the windshield), and SunSync Elite.

On-Trend Tech: VSP Optics’ newest tech is SunSync Elite, which the company is positioning as the fastest fadeback tech on the market (10x faster fadeback than market leaders). Utilizing proprietary technology produced in California, SunSync Elite changes from dark to clear in under a minute.


VSP Optics


Zeiss has long touted its PhotoFusion photochromic lens family for its patented photo-active molecules that respond efficiently to light energy, darkening faster and fading up to two times faster than other market-leading photochromic lenses, the company claims.

On-Trend Tech: Zeiss has also entered the photochromic style arena, launching a PhotoFusion lenses in new colors. Extra Gray, Pioneer Green, and blue now join the original lineup of brown and gray.




Contact lenses that darken when the wearer goes outside? It’s happening, and you can expect them on the market in 2019. The ACUVUE OASYS contact lenses with Transitions Light Intelligent Technology are being produced by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.

They will automatically darken when exposed to bright light and return to a clear state in normal or dark circumstances. These soft contacts are designed for daily use for up to 14 days.