Urban Optique
4935 40 Ave NW #132 Calgary AB T3A 2N1 (403) 286-4142

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Calgary, AB


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Photochromic Lenses

Photochromic Lenses Offer a Great “All-In-One” Eyeglass Solution. Have You Considered Trying Them?

If you’ve ever seen a pair of glasses go from clear to tinted, you’ve seen photochromic lenses in action. These lenses react when exposed to light from our sun, darkening to provide convenient on-demand protection from bright sunlight and harsh glares.

We’re a big proponent of convenience, and when it comes to eyewear, it’s hard to beat the convenience offered by photochromic lenses. Being able to wear a single pair of glasses indoors or outdoors has its advantages- cost being one of them!
If you’ve always wanted a pair of prescription sunglasses but haven’t opted to make the purchase due to affordability concerns, you may find that photochromic lenses are the perfect solution.

What are Photochromic Lenses?

First introduced in the 1960s, photochromic lenses are lenses that automatically darken when exposed to UV light. The Sun is the biggest source of UV light that affects us here on Earth, as most man-made sources of light do not emit UV rays.
Because photochromic lenses darken when exposed to UV light, you can cheerfully wear them indoors where they remain clear (or only slightly tinted). This means they offer you the same utility as eyeglasses when working at your computer, reading, or otherwise conducting day to day activity indoors.
When exposed to UV light, such as when you walk outside, they automatically darken to provide sunglass-level of tint. The darkening process takes about 30 seconds or so, and generally around four or five times that to go from dark to clear.

How do Photochromic Lenses Work?

Special dyes – called photochromic dyes – undergo a chemical reaction when exposed to UV light. The molecules that make up these dyes, such as silver chloride, change shape when exposed to UV radiation. This causes them to block more incoming light, darkening the lens.

Different Types of Photochromic Lenses

In the decades since their introduction, photochromic lenses have been refined and expanded to suit a variety of applications.

  • High-index lenses – These lenses are thinner and lighter than regular lenses, making them ideally suited for fashion-centric applications.
  • Bifocal lenses – These lenses offer two different lens powers on the same lens.
  • Trifocal lenses – These lenses offer three different lens powers on the same lens.
  • Progressive lenses – These lenses offer a range of lens powers, enabling you to see clearly at a variety of distances.


Can Photochromic Lenses Replace Your Sunglasses?

We think so! Almost all photochromic lenses available today – and all the versions we carry – are rated at UV 400 protection. This means they block somewhere between 99% and 100% of the Sun’s harmful UV rays.
If you’ve been thinking about investing in a pair of prescription sunglasses, but have chosen not to, you may want to consider photochromic lenses for your next pair of glasses!

Unsure of What You Need? We Can Help!

We carry hundreds of different pairs of eyeglass and sunglass frames in stock. We can fit photochromic lenses into just about all of them. Come visit us in Market Mall, we’d be happy to show you these lenses in action.

Written by Russ Reisner

Dr. Reisner and Dr. Kuntz (who is also Dr. Reisner’s uncle) acquired and expanded Urban Optique into its current location in 2006 and 2007. Dr. Reisner was born and grew up in Limerick, Saskatchewan – a small farming community about an hour south of Moose Jaw. After attending the University of Saskatchewan he earned his degree in Optometry from Indiana University in 2001. Dr. Reisner is very proud of everything he and his colleagues have accomplished.

More Articles by Russ Reisner

Our Location

Located on the main floor of the Market Mall professional building. Providing eye exams, in-stock contact lenses and over 2,000 frames from over 40 brands of eyeglasses. Free parking is available for this Northwest Calgary location.


4935 40 Ave NW #132
Calgary AB, T3A 2N1

Contact Information

  • Monday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Tuesday: 9:00am - 9:00pm
  • Wednesday: 9:00am - 9:00pm
  • Thursday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Friday: 9:00am - 6:00pm
  • Saturday: 9:30am - 5:30pm
  • Sunday: Closed
  • Dr. Russ Reisner
  • Dr. David Schmidt
  • Dr. Pri Tawar
  • Dr. Nevin McIvor
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