Help and frequently asked questions

What's the difference between reactions lenses and sunglasses for photophobia?


Photophobia is extreme light sensitivity, but anyone looking to spend time outdoors or drive during daylight hours might be interested in eyewear that makes the sun's rays easier on the eyes. There are a couple of eyewear options that can shield the eyes from harsh sunlight, while still offering a prescription for vision correction. These are reactions lenses and prescription sunglasses.

What are reaction lenses?

Reaction lenses, also known as photochromic lenses, look and work just like normal prescription glasses. The difference is that they react to UV light, which causes the lens to darken in sunshine. This makes the lens turn from clear to the dark shade of sunglasses, meaning you can wear your prescription glasses throughout the day without having to switch to sunglasses when you spend time outdoors. One thing to remember about reaction glasses is that some types may not work as well behind glass, such as in the car. This is because glass filters UV light, which is what the lenses need to change. There are some options made specifically for driving, so speak to your optometrist to find out more.

What are prescription sunglasses?

Another option is to consider prescription sunglasses. This option looks and works just like a normal pair of sunglasses, except they have your prescription built in so you can wear them in sunshine and still benefit from vision correction. The benefits of these include the huge range of options that can suit any style, so you can wear them outdoors and to the beach without standing out. Some people may prefer this option if they spent a lot of time outdoors and need vision correction for that time while still protecting their eyes from sunlight.

Making the choice between the two options will largely depend on your lifestyle and preferences, so be sure to talk these through with your optometrist when you make your decision.