An Introduction to Photochromic Lenses

As the clocks spring forward into the next month of the year, April arrives, bringing with it some of the most changeable weather of the entire year. Get ready for lovely bright sunshine with clear blue skies one day, to cooler temperatures and heavy rain the next. With this in mind we wanted to tell you about a fabulous new product which Seiko lenses are now offering. We think it’s a great addition to their portfolio of already great optical lenses, and the perfect solution for spectacle wearers who have to deal with Britain’s changeable weather.

You might think of photochromic lenses as something worn by older, more mature people who have them fitted into frames which don’t look like sunglasses. They also tend not to look that great, when they’ve reacted and darkened down. But now that’s all changed, because Seiko lenses have delivered a product which, once the photochromic element of the lens kicks in, transforms them into modern-looking mirrored lenses. Let us explain.

The prescription lenses are manufactured with the photochromic element to it. This means that tiny molecules are embedded into the lens, which are invisible to the naked eye and appear clear until the lenses are exposed to sunlight, and in particular UV rays. A chemical process takes place, the molecules react, change shape and absorb the light. This results in the lens colouring to a darkened lens.

Photochromic Lenses


What Seiko have done is put a mirror on the front surface of the lens. When the lenses are clear the mirror can’t be seen as it’s against a clear background. But as the lens changes colour the mirror effect comes out against the darker background.

One of the most frustrating things about wearing spectacles, which many of our customers talk about too, is the inconvenience of having to carry separate pairs of spectacles and sunglasses. We bet many of you have found occasions when you’re out in the bright sunshine and then go into a shop or café and have to swap your glasses over or sit feeling a bit silly, wearing a pair of sunspecs in a dark corner of a café.

So, we jumped at the opportunity to give Seiko’s new photochromic lenses a try. Or rather, Alison did! Seiko have three photochromic colours to choose from: the traditional brown and grey, and now a new green. That’s quite standard, but Seiko offer SIX mirror finishes – and that’s where the excitement comes from. Mixing the photochromic element with the different mirror colours creates some really interesting effects.

Alison opted for a brown photochromic lens with a red mirror, having considered the frame colour, so each element of the finished spectacles complimented each other. Not only was Alison really pleased with the results, but it gave her the added bonus of not having to carry both ophthalmic spectacles and prescription glasses with her when she’s out and about.

There are of course other benefits of wearing photochromic lenses. They provide great comfort, and help to reduce eyestrain and glare from bright sunlight. These lenses absorb 100% of harmful UVA and UVB rays produced by the sun. If you suffer from light-sensitive eyes, photochromic lenses are an especially good choice.

If you like the idea of not having to carry both prescription spectacles and sunglasses, it’s worth taking a closer look at photochromic lenses. Pop by the shop to find out more about the different Seiko mirrors available. We’ll be happy to discuss the options and whether they are a good fit for your lifestyle. You’ll find us on Manor Walk in Market Harborough. Our opening times are Tuesday-Friday, 9AM to 5PM, and Saturdays between 9AM and 4PM.


You can read more about Seiko lenses here.