Do you wear glasses? If so, you might want to check into Transitions Vantage lenses when you next need new glasses. I’ve had them now for about 6 months and love them.
You may have heard of Transitions lenses — they’re what used to be called “photogrey” and turn clear inside and at night, and dark when in sunlight. The Transitions Vantage go one step further and don’t just become darker in sunlight — they also become polarized. Perfect on a boat!
A little bit of background — I tried Transitions about 20 years ago and didn’t like them one bit. They were too dark indoors and too light in full sun.
So I opted for a pair of clear glasses to wear indoors, and a pair of prescription polarized sunglasses. Polarized glasses are wonderful around water as they considerably reduce glare.
On a boat, polarized glasses really help spotting wind lines and also in seeing shoal areas. Dave and I quickly realized how much better I was at spotting things on the water with my polarized sunglasses than he was with his non-polarized.
The down side was that I felt that I forever had the wrong glasses on when we were living on Que Tal and I spent half my day changing glasses!
About 5 years ago, the optician talked me into trying the Transitions XtrActive, saying that they were much improved. They certainly were, but there was a bit of a tradeoff. I liked not having to change glasses as I went in the boat and out in the cockpit, but I no longer had polarized sunglasses (or if I wanted to use my old pair, I could, but that sort of defeated the purpose of having the Transitions).
In December 2013 I needed new glasses. Before my appointment, I debated long and hard about whether I wanted Transitions or two pair, with the sunglasses being polarized. When I got to selecting my glasses, I jokingly said something about wishing I could have polarized Transitions.
I was absolutely shocked when I was told that they had just come out! The optometrist had a pair to try for himself, but they literally hadn’t sold a pair yet. I was very interested, but sort of taken aback at the cost. You see, I wear progressive bifocals with a high index (thinner lenses for those of us who wear really powerful glasses), and they’re expensive enough in regular Transitions.
In Transitions Vantage, they’d be even more expensive. Over $500 just for the lenses, no frames (note: price varies with your prescription and by optician, your price may be higher or lower). I don’t have vision insurance. Yikes!
I thought about it for a couple of days and decided to go with the Transitions Vantage lenses. I liked them initially, but it was about a month later that we went to the USVI aboard Beagle Knot and I got to really see how they worked for life on a boat.
Finally, I had glasses that worked for the way I live! The only time I changed was to put contacts in when snorkeling. I wore them for everything else and it was wonderful just to be able to see well all the time.
Because I was curious, I did take my old lenses along and compared looking through the water at the bottom with the old (regular Transitions) and new (polarized Transitions Vantage) lenses. Huge difference in what I could see.
I will admit that in polarized mode, they aren’t quite as good as pure polarized sunglasses — I’d say they’re maybe 95% as good. It’s a trade-off I’m willing to accept for actually having them on when I need them!
More recently when we were in the Florida Keys and moving the boat we ended up not buying, I was the only one on board with polarized lenses. I ended up being the spotter whenever we were in shallow water.
I know the cost of Transitions Vantage lenses will put them out of reach of some on a budget, but they’re really worth considering if you’re on the water a lot. I absolutely love mine and when Dave gets new glasses, that’s what he’ll get too.
Oh, one final note: even if you go to a one-hour lab, expect that it’ll take them a week or so to get the lenses in.
DISCLOSURE: Nope, I didn’t get paid a cent to write this. I just love them!