Think back to when you were a kid and someone treated you to an outing to the local ice cream parlor. You walk through the doors and are greeted by the sweet smell of 31 flavors and fresh waffle cones. You approach the counter set on a double scoop of Rocky Road, but with your nose pressed up to the glass and an endless array of flavors before your eyes, you’re less confident in your choice.
The pralines and cream with caramel drizzle looks amazing, the strawberry is always a safe bet, and the neon swirl of color beaming from a half-scooped tub of rainbow sherbet pulls you in yet another direction.
In the end you stick with your original choice, but as you leave the shop with a taste of Rocky Road in your mouth and a trickle of it racing down the cone towards your knuckles, you wonder if you made the right call.
The first photochromic lenses appeared in 1964, and quickly drew interest for their unique ability to darken in sunlight and fade back indoors. However, the first generation of photochromic lenses came with cosmetic and functional barriers – two of the largest being that it took them about an hour to fade and they never got fully clear.
Fast forward more than half a century, and the technology has greatly expanded, as have the types of light-reactive lenses available. Reaction speeds, darkness, clarity, and overall aesthetics have all improved greatly, and there are now four different types of light-reactive lenses available: standard, extra reactive, ultra-fast, and polarized.
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