Since its launch in 2010, Warby Parker has taken the eyewear industry by storm and reimagined the way that glasses are purchased. But what about people who have light sensitivity issues?

Among the various lens treatments that Warby Parker offers is the option of photochromic lenses—otherwise known as transition lenses—for people who have light sensitivity issues when outdoors.

UV light sensitivity is a common problem, so it should come as no surprise that a popular eyewear retailer like Warby Parker offers this option. Keep reading to learn more about this unique type of lens.

Does Warby Parker Have Transition Lenses?

Warby Parker offers transition lenses that provide adaptive defenses against the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays for people who need a boost in eye protection when dealing with outdoor light.

To avoid confusion with the Transitions® brand of treated lenses, Warby Parker refers to its line of photochromic lenses as being light-responsive.

How do Warby Parker’s Photochromic Lenses Work?

If you have ever observed someone’s glasses appearing normal when worn indoors but then the lenses darkening on their own when moving outdoors, then chances are those lenses are photochromic.

Like all transition lenses, Warby Parker’s light-responsive glasses react to the level of UV rays that are present in a particular environment and adapt to the presence of UV rays by automatically darkening.

Here’s how this seemingly magical process works:

  • The basic idea behind light-responsive lenses is that they contain special molecules that change their structure depending on the level of UV rays that are present in a particular environment
  • There are two types of photochromic lenses on available Warby Parker eyewear depending on whether your glasses have plastic or glass lenses
  • Plastic transition lenses contain carbon-based dye molecules that darken significantly when they are exposed to UV light and return to normal when the amount of UV rays decreases
  • Light-responsive lenses made from glass work through a more complex process involving electron exchanges between silver halide and copper chloride compounds embedded in the glass material
  • These days, plastic photochromic lenses, including those offered by Warby Parker, are more common than glass

Not only do transition lenses darken when they are exposed to ultraviolet light, but the more UV rays that hit the lenses, the darker they become.

It is also worth noting that photochromic lenses react to the presence of UV rays, not sunshine.

This is why glasses with transition lenses still darken (but to a lesser degree) on cloudy days or in the shade.

How Long do Warby Parker Transition Lenses Take to Darken?

While the transformation from a normal to darkened state is not instantaneous, it does occur fairly rapidly, typically from 30 seconds to 1 minute on average, once initial exposure to UV rays occurs.

The intensity of ultraviolet light also affects the rate at which transition lenses darken, with the change occurring faster when the presence of UV rays is higher and slower when UV light is less intense.

When it comes to the reverse process, going from a darkened state to a clear state takes considerably longer, with lenses returning to normal clarity within 2 to 3 minutes after going indoors.

Continuing research promises to reduce these times as photochromic lens technology improves.

What are the Benefits of Transition Lenses?

The importance of transition lenses is not about the convenience of keeping the same pair of glasses on and not having to switch to a separate pair of sunglasses when heading outdoors.

For many wearers, having photochromic lenses on their glasses is a matter of maintaining their vision and protecting their eye health.

There are many benefits to wearing glasses with transition lenses, including most notably:

  • Light-responsive lenses, such as those offered by Warby Parker, provide 100% protection against ultraviolet rays, including UVA and UVB
  • UV rays are known to be a contributing or worsening factor for serious eye conditions, including cataracts and age-related macular degeneration
  • Transition lenses are available in different lens shades, such as gray and brown, to suit your personal preference
  • By combining sunglasses with prescription eyewear, glasses with photochromic lenses makes it easier and more convenient to head outdoors without worrying about exposing your eyes to harmful UV rays
  • For people with complex vision needs, transition lenses can also be adapted to bifocal and multifocal glasses

Perhaps the greatest benefit of wearing glasses with light-responsive lenses is knowing that for any time you spend outdoors, your eyes will be fully protected from harmful UV rays.


Warby Parker has made a name for itself by purportedly cutting out the middleman in order to offer consumers quality eyewear at affordable prices.

With the option of transition lenses, Warby Parker customers can also rest assured that their light sensitivity needs will also be met with the availability of photochromic treatment for their glasses.