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In April 2018, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first-ever transition contact lenses. This type of contact includes breakthrough light-management technology. It allows the lenses to darken automatically when exposed to bright light without sacrificing visual acuity (sharpness of vision) or comfort.
Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. was the creator of these soft contact lenses. The official name for this eyewear is Acuvue Oasys Contact Lenses with Transitions Light Intelligent Technology.
If you have myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), you can use these transition contact lenses for daily use. Even those who do not have vision problems can wear the lenses as well.
However, you cannot wear these lenses for more than 14 days (or approximately two weeks).
Like any type of contact lenses, it is important to maintain good eye care practices. Contact lenses of any kind do have the risk of complications, such as infections.
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Transition contact lenses are similar to transition eyeglasses and have a photochromic additive. This means that your eye will filter visible light according to the quantity of UV and High Energy Visible (HEV) light.
When this happens, the lenses darken slightly to compensate for the increased sunlight. However, if you return indoors, your contact lenses become clear again within 90 seconds.
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You’ll want to remember that while these contacts provide UV protection, they are not substitutes for UV protective sunglasses or goggles. The contact lenses do not cover the entire eye and leave areas exposed to harmful UVA/UVB radiation.
The contact lenses will have a clear-to-slightly tinted appearance in normal, indoor lighting conditions. However, if you wear these transition lenses outside, they will become darker when exposed to UV and/or HEV light.
The lens manufacturer designed the contact lenses to minimize outward changes to your eye’s natural look.
However, because these lenses fade quickly to clear when you’re no longer in direct sunlight, the tint is temporary.
If you are diagnosed with myopia (nearsightedness) or hyperopia (farsightedness), these transition contact lenses may be suitable.
People with astigmatism (irregular eye curvature) can also take advantage of the transition lenses. However, the lenses do not correct astigmatism.
Finally, if you have no vision problems but would like to enjoy the light management benefits, transition lenses may be worth considering.
On the other hand, if you have any of the following conditions, you should not use these transition lenses:
According to the National Eye Institute, approximately 42 percent of Americans between the ages of 12 and 54 have myopia, while 5 to 10 percent of all Americans suffer from hyperopia.
The FDA provided clearance for the use of these transition contact lenses. This means that the governmental organization considers these contacts to be both safe and effective.
To reach this decision, the FDA looked over different pieces of scientific evidence. For example, the FDA reviewed a clinical study of 24 subjects wearing contact lenses while driving during the day and/or night. The study results showed no problems related to driving performance or vision among the contact lens wearers.
Also, the FDA looked at the Acuvue Oasys Contact Lenses with Transitions Light Intelligent Technology through the premarket notification 510(k) pathway.
A 510(k) refers to when a device manufacturer makes a premarket submission to the FDA to show their device is considerably equivalent to a predicate device. A predicate device is a legally marked medical device that a manufacturer may use as a reference to get approval from the FDA.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 45 million people wear contact lenses in the United States.
Transition contacts have both advantages and disadvantages.
Here is a list of some of the benefits of wearing these contact lenses:
Here is a list of some of the downsides of wearing these contact lenses:
Approximately 1 million doctor and hospital visits for keratitis occur in the United States annually.
Transition lenses’ prices will vary depending on where you purchase them.
For example, if you purchase these lenses at your local Walmart, a 3-month supply could cost you around 100 dollars.
However, if you are not sure about whether to spend the money or not, you can download a certificate from the home page of Acuvue Oasys Contact Lenses with Transitions Light Intelligent Technology.
This certificate will let you ask for free trial lenses from participating eye doctors. However, it is important to remember that you will have to pay for the eye exam and fitting fees.
Prices for contact lenses vary from one set to the next. Costs will depend on:
However, that aside, transition lenses fall within a similar price range. Also, with vision insurance, you may be able to save more on out-of-pocket expenses.
You can buy transition contacts from a local drugstore retailer or an optometry clinic. You can speak with your optometrist or ophthalmologist to see if transition contacts are a suitable solution.
Yes. Transition contacts have the same photochromatic additive in transition glasses that help them darken when exposed to natural sunlight.
Yes. Transition lenses can help with certain degrees of astigmatism. However, because each case is unique, you should speak with your local eye doctor to see if these lenses are best for your needs.
You can wear transition lenses every day for up to 14 days. You must maintain proper care throughout that period to avoid possible eye infections.
No. Transition contacts do not replace sunglasses. While transition contacts protect against UVA and UVB rays, parts of your eye and the surrounding area remain exposed to the radiation. It is important to use proper UV protective eyewear.
Yes. These transition contacts work both indoors and outdoors. The lenses will change according to how much light is present in the setting. If you go from outdoors to indoors, the lenses will become clear again within 90 seconds.
Yes. You can. A clinical study showed that driving performance remained unaffected when people wore transition lenses. The lenses work while you are behind a windshield and can reduce halos and starbursts during the night.
Yes. The lenses can actively filter out blue light indoors by up to 15 percent. For blue light outdoors, these lenses can filter out up to 55 percent.
You should not wear transition contacts if you have any of the following conditions. These include inflammation or infection in or around the eye; any eye disease, injury, or abnormality that impacts the cornea, conjunctiva (the mucous lining on the front of the eye), or eyelids; severe dry eye; diminished corneal sensitivity; red or irritated eyes; a previously diagnosed condition that causes discomfort when you wear contacts; allergic reactions on the eye’s surface or surrounding issues that could be caused by contact lenses and/or its lens solution; or, systemic disease that could impact the eye or become more problematic when you wear contacts.
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“ACUVUE OASYS with Transitions.” Contact Lenses by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. - Walmart Contacts, www.walmartcontacts.com/Lens/927.
“Benefits of Vision Correction with Contact Lenses.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Mar. 2014, www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/benefits.html.
Dart, J.K.G. “Risk Factors for Microbial Keratitis with Contemporary Contact Lenses: a Case-Control Study.” Ophthalmology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18597850/.
“Fast Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26 July 2018, www.cdc.gov/contactlenses/fast-facts.html.
“FDA Clears First Contact Lens with Light-Adaptive Technology.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, Apr. 2018, www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-clears-first-contact-lens-light-adaptive-technology.
“Light-Adaptive Contacts: ACUVUE® OASYS with Transitions.” ACUVUE® Contact Lenses, www.acuvue.com/acuvue-oasys-transition-contact-lenses.