Creepy or cool? These prescription contact lenses automatically darken in the sun
If there’s any king of the sartorial uncool, it’s probably prescription glasses that auto-darken in the sun. While transition glasses have provided people with an ingenious solution that doesn’t involve constantly switching over to sunglasses, they just can’t shake their nerdy connotation. So could auto-darkening contact lenses do any better at filling that fashion-conscious spot?
Johnson & Johnson, with Transitions Optical – the original creators of transitions lenses – have just received FDA approval for their self-darkening contact lenses, and they’re due to be released next year. Though there’s no indication of how much they will cost and Alphr has approached the firms for clarification.
“After more than a decade of product development and clinical trials involving more than 1,000 patients, we are excited to bring to market a solution to help contact lenses wearers manage the changing light condition they face every day in their modern active lives,” Xiao-Yu Song, global head of R&D at Johnson & Johnson Vision said.
The lenses, which are equipped with a light-sensitive photochromic additive that blocks out UV light, work similarly to the transition glasses seen today. When the lenses are exposed to bright sunlight, they automatically darken, and return to normal indoors. The lenses will continuously balance the exposure your eye has to any sunlight. The auto-darkening contact lenses will be available for both near-sighted and far-sighted people and will last a maximum of two weeks before having to be thrown away.
While the benefits are obvious, there is one clear caveat. Just like prescription transition glasses, they will have a pretty noticeable darkish tint. Which means, yes, your irises are going to look pretty darn creepy. Considering that many people wear contact lenses for aesthetic reasons, these transition lenses seem somewhat counter-productive.
That’s not to say they’re not convenient, however. As with transitions, the perk is that you don’t need to keep putting on a pair of sunglasses when you go outside. Whether the creepy payoff is worth it, or if they’ll just remain a dorky novelty for Halloween, we’ll let you make that decision.