Do Transition Lenses Wear Out?

Transition lenses are so useful… but do they have an expiration date?

Do Transition Lenses Wear Out?

Transition Lenses for Prescription GlassesTransition lenses are extremely popular and an asset to those who need glasses that provide sun protection and clearness indoors. Occasionally people with Transitions will have a problem with the lenses not getting dark enough anymore, and this poses the question: “Do Transition lenses wear out?”

Transition lenses generally last the life of a pair of glasses (or longer), though they do wear out after years of use. Most Transition lenses wear out in about three years, with a yellowish tinge forming in the lenses while clear and a noticeable reduction of the lenses’ darkness in full sunlight.

There are, however, some things to consider when the question, “Do Transition lenses wear out?” comes up. Other factors can make you think they’re worn out, when they aren’t:

  • Transition lenses generally take at least 3 years to wear out.
  • Temperature affects how Transitions change. When they’re hot (like in the summer), the lenses will change slower and won’t get as dark.
  • Transition lenses don’t change behind the windshield of a car.
  • When Transition lenses do wear out, they will take on a yellowish tinge when they’re clear. They will no longer get as dark at that point.
  • Transition lenses don’t get as dark as standard sunglasses.

If you’re thinking about buying Transition lenses, it’s important to consider these factors before making your purchase. Additionally, if you have Transitions that are old enough to be worn out, it’s probably time to get a new prescription anyway!

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If you have any questions about Transition lenses or what’s right for you, please give us a call or leave a comment in the comments section below. Transition lenses are some of the most impressive lenses on the market, and millions of happy Transitions wearers come back for a new pair with every prescription.

29 Responses to Do Transition Lenses Wear Out?
  1. Betty
    June 19, 2014 | 10:28 am

    My tanssistion lens stay dark. Why?

    • Kieran Hunt
      June 25, 2014 | 1:19 pm

      Hi Betty,

      If your Transitions lenses don’t lighten at all when you walk indoors, then there’s a chance that they are not Transitions lenses.

      If they used to turn clear but now don’t get as clear, it’s probably time for a new pair. This happens to Transitions lenses after a couple years of use.

      If they’re new and the problem is that they do lighten, but they never lighten completely, then you should check with the office where your glasses were made to see what kind of Transitions you got.

      Please let me know if you have any more questions. If your question is still not solved, please also let us know: what type of Transitions they are (Signature, Transitions VI, XtrActive, Vantage, or Drivewear), how long ago you got them, and whether they change at all. If they do change, how much do they change?

      Kieran Hunt

  2. Lucy Goulbourne
    December 3, 2014 | 6:51 pm

    My glasses are about two years old and they are yellow around the edges. At the store I was told they are guaranteed for one year. They did not tell me that when I bought them. They told me most people buy new glasses every year.

  3. Jessica
    December 8, 2014 | 3:59 pm

    Most people do buy new glasses or lenses once a year, especially since most people do get an eye exam once a year.

    • jp
      February 21, 2015 | 6:56 pm

      You’re kidding right? Most people get their glasses replaced when their prescription changes so much that it is necessary. Do you really believe that people spend $500 or more every year if they don’t need to? I guess these are the same folks that buy a new cell phone every time the vendor makes a minor change. No one told me that Transitions stopped working in a few years. This is ridiculous.

  4. Jennifer Adrian
    February 15, 2015 | 1:23 pm

    Do transitional lenses wear out when they are not in use?

  5. Jessica
    February 25, 2015 | 7:17 pm

    They become less and less over time, however they should have no problem lasting 4 years.

  6. Toni
    June 8, 2015 | 6:14 pm

    I am considering Transition lenses. However, I am concerned about how long they last. I do have eye exams every two years. But my prescription hasn’t changed in many, many years. So, it’s disappointing to know that they wear out. Even after two, three or four years. Whether or not I go with Transitions may depend on the cost of the lenses. If the lenses are not too costly, then I can see replacing the lenses (not the frames) when needed (and hopefully not any less than two years). But if they ARE costly and I have to replace them even when my prescription isn’t changing… well, this may not be for me. The cost is what I will need to consider.

  7. Mino de Angelis
    September 12, 2015 | 11:47 pm

    My Transition glasses are only two years old and the film seemed to turn into spider web of lines. At night all bright lights have a halo around them. I’ve owned many pair of transition type lens over the past 40 years and this is the first time I’ve experienced a product failure like this.

    • Ryan Phillips
      November 11, 2015 | 2:23 pm

      That is weird. I know a few years back maybe 2 or 3 there was a off brand product called LifeRx that had a problem with the film pealing off. The have since then fixed it but there was a lot of product that was deffective. Maybe you got the knock off instead of the transition lenses. Very hard to tell the difference unless you put them together. I hope this helps.

  8. Lorraine E.
    December 5, 2015 | 2:37 pm

    My transitions are only two months old. I don’t like them because I have noticed that when I come into a building from the outside, they do not clear up completely. Although they DO clear up somewhat, and are not as dark as they are when I am outside, they NEVER clear up COMPLETELY, and always have a brownish tint to them. I don’t want to walk around with a brownish tint all of the time.

    Should I get them replaced?

    • Ryan Phillips
      December 7, 2015 | 3:49 pm

      I am unsure what transition lenses you have some don’t get 100% clear they will always have a little tint. The newer ones work much better but you could have a model that does not get 100% clear. Also as the lenses get older they don’t get as dark or as clear as they used to so i would say if you don’t like that little tint to them then don’t get transition get a pair of sunglasses and a pair of clear lenses. I hope this helps.

    • BillyMadison
      December 14, 2015 | 3:13 pm

      can transition lenses be repaired

      • Ryan Phillips
        December 14, 2015 | 3:25 pm

        No i am sorry we can’t repair transition lenses.

    • casey
      September 17, 2016 | 1:00 am

      I have the same problem with my brand new glasses. The lenses are not completely clear and they cast a shadow over my eyes.

  9. Tom Corning
    March 29, 2016 | 3:16 pm

    My transition lenses look like they are delaminating where they contact my cheeks and eyebrows. They also only darken in the center areas of the lenses.

  10. ALI JAWO
    April 7, 2016 | 8:46 am

    Each time i wear my transition glasses people appear taller and objects appears bigger in size. Why?

    • Ryan Phillips
      April 8, 2016 | 2:19 pm

      This has something to do with the prescription and not the lens colors. I would have the optician check your prescription on the glasses something seems wrong.

  11. Nekoda Harris
    April 8, 2016 | 10:29 pm

    My problem is, my transitional lenses get dark still, but there’s now a clear border around the edges of the lens. As if the transition won’t reach the edge anymore. Wth?

    • Ryan Phillips
      April 11, 2016 | 2:14 pm

      There must be some kind of defect in the lenses i would bring them back to where you got them.

      • Nekoda Harris
        April 21, 2016 | 12:58 am

        Lol I forgot to mention that they are just about 3 years old now. So I’m guessing that’s why. These transitional lens are quite different than most. I got them through Wal-Mart. They activite by sun light not the sun’s heat. But Nm. Pretty sure they’re just wearing out.

  12. Jeffrey M
    June 2, 2016 | 9:44 am

    I bought Transitions in my last 2 pairs of glasses and frankly, they are only effective for about the first year. The second year they are only about half as effective and the third year they didn’t work at all – instead, they are a sickly yellow tint. Over this 6-7 years, I have heard a lot of marketing hype claiming they have ‘improved’. Not really. But the cost has gone up.
    Sadly, the entire eyeglass industry is ripe for a Chinese takeover because of the price gouging – charging huge premiums for upgrades like Transitions, hi-refractive index materials, wide-angle bifocals, anti-reflective coatings, scratch resistant coatings, etc. These add-ons should be cheap and standard yet they represent more than 65% of the cost. The industry should be ashamed.

    • Ryan Phillips
      June 2, 2016 | 2:22 pm


      Sorry to hear your experience with transition lenses has been sub-par. As the article states, transition lenses do wear out after a few years and part of this is the color changing to a yellow tint. If you don’t like transitions, try something else. As far as the industry is concerned, it’s just like any other industry; steal customers away from the competition and make money. The market sets the price point, not the individual companies. We here at Myeyewear2go are not trying to screw anybody over with high premiums, it’s just the way it works.

      With that being said, hope you can find a solution to your lens issue. Give us a call at 1-855-463-5177 if you have further questions. Have a good day.

  13. Christy
    July 27, 2016 | 10:49 pm

    I got my transition lens and they do not darken at all. I took them back to where I got them. All they did was put them on a UV Machine and they did darken up so they did nothing. I ended up having to buy prescription sunglasses

    • Ryan Phillips
      August 9, 2016 | 2:45 pm

      I would check to see what kind of Transition lens it is that had used for your lenses. The Transition Signature, which is the standard one, will only change to a light tint. When it is hot or humid outside, you will see that the lenses don’t change much. They get darker in colder climates. I would look into getting the Transition Vantage or Transition Xtractive. The Vantage is a polarized transition lens that will change to a medium tint and the Xtractive will get just about sunglass dark and change to a light tint when behind the windshield of a car.

  14. Sanford
    July 31, 2016 | 10:48 pm

    My glasses are one year old and out of warranty. All of a sudden one lens only gets half as dark as the other. One is full dark the other is not. They are progressive and transition.
    Why did that happen?
    Thank you.

    • Ryan Phillips
      August 9, 2016 | 3:09 pm

      Hi Sanford,

      That is strange that the lenses are having issues just after one year of use. I had this happen to my glasses as well one day, but the next day the lenses were back to normal of both changing to the same degree. Bring them back to your optical shop and explain the situation to them and see what they can suggest for you being that they are outside of warranty.

  15. Jim
    September 19, 2016 | 11:42 pm

    For all the posters who say that the Transition lenses do not work well after 2 to 3 years, my experience has not born that out. After 3 years of daily wear, I have seen virtually no dimunition in their ability to darken or lighten. No yellow tint visible. Great darkening and virtually totally clear lenses indoors.

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