Welcome to the third and final installment of our ultimate guide series on light-reactive lenses. In part one we covered standard photochromics before shifting to extra-active photochromics in part two. In part three we’re going to look at a new and exciting category of light-reactive lenses that only came into existence in October 2018.
The budding category of ultra-fast photochromics is so new and advanced that only two lenses reside in it: SunSync Elite and SunSync Elite XT (which is technically a hybrid of extra-active and ultra-fast).
In this installment, we’ll investigate the ins and outs of this relatively unknown light-reactive lens type, with an emphasis on the following topics. We suggest reading through the entire article, but you can also jump to a specific section by clicking any of the following buttons:
The Long-Awaited Solution to An Age-Old Problem
As the name implies, an ultra-fast photochromic lens earns its name based on the superior speed in which it fades back. Designed to overcome one of the biggest pain points among photochromic wearers since the technology came into existence, these marvels in light-reactive lens technology provide a long-awaited solution to the slow fade-back barrier.
How Do Ultra-Fast Photochromic Lenses Work?
The chemical process that enables dye molecules to “unfold” requires space for them to move.
In standard light-reactive lenses, when dye molecules are exposed to UV, the bonds between particles shift and reverse slowly. Ultra-fast, light-reactive lenses are engineered to provide an environment that allows dye molecules to move freely—so they can move faster.
Think of the difference between a traditional photochromic environment and an ultra-fast environment like a mud pit versus a swimming pool. Now imagine trying to swim laps in each. Which one’s going to allow you to move faster? When you’re able to move freely with less resistance, you move faster.
The color-changing dyes are manufactured in a separate, very thin layer above the lenses, and this separation enables quick action. Without encapsulating the dyes in a separate layer and using a revolutionary manufacturing process to interface with lenses, fade-back speeds would not have advanced since the nineties.
Think of the difference between a traditional photochromic environment and an ultra-fast environment like a mud pit versus a swimming pool."
What Are the Benefits of Ultra-Fast Photochromic Lenses?
Obviously, the dramatic speed is what differentiates these lenses. But speed leads to additional, deeper benefits for you and your patients. And, what really makes these lenses unique is that you don’t have to sacrifice any of the benefits you enjoy with their standard counterparts to enjoy faster performance. Let’s look at some of the benefits of ultra-fast photochromics:
Who’s the Ideal Patient for An Ultra-Fast Photochromic Lens?
These lenses are the new standard in light-reactive lens performance and should be a first-choice recommendation for any patient interested in a photochromic.
As discussed in parts one and two, determining an ideal, ultra-fast candidate comes down to really knowing the person on the other side of the dispensing table. And once again, that’s where your patient questionnaire, or a good thorough discussion comes into play. By identifying some of the following patient information, you’ll be able to more effectively present all the benefits an ultra-fast lens offers them:
Weighing up priorities can help you choose between different types of photochromics. Patients who prioritize speed and personal appearance are prime candidates for an ultra-fast lens. Those who prioritize in-car activation and outdoor darkness, but still want fast fade-back speed would be better suited for a lens like SunSync Elite XT, which ticks all of those boxes.
People with jobs that entail a lot of indoor-outdoor movement throughout the day need highly-responsive lenses. Many professionals (and hobbyists) require the best possible eyesight in bright and dark environments to perform their task safely and well.
An ultra-fast photochromic’s quick adaptability to changing conditions make them well-suited for patients who enjoy a variety of different lifestyle activities:
These are just a few examples of strong candidates for an ultra-fast photochromic. Anyone who prizes technology, convenience, and appearance could be well-suited for this category of light-reactive lens.
Setting Realistic Expectations
Because the primary advantage of these lenses is the fade-back speed, factors that impact that speed should be addressed with patients.
Ambient temperature is the main influence on reaction speed, so that should be your starting point. Hotter temperatures result in slightly lighter outdoor color and faster fade-back speed, whereas colder temps slow down fade-back rates but increase outdoor darkness. From there, you can discuss other environmental factors related to temperature including:
Tips for Dispensing Ultra-Fast Photochromic Lenses
Demonstrate the Difference: Demonstration lorgnettes are available with an ultra-fast lens next to a standard photochromic to show how much faster these lenses are. Seeing one lens return to clear in less than 60 seconds while the other remains tinted for several more minutes is often all a patient needs to say yes to an ultra-fast photochromic. If you don’t have a lorgnette, two pairs of glasses with the different photochromics works just as well.
Pointing out the deeper benefits of ultra-fast, fade-back speed helps to transition a patient from wanting these lenses to needing them."
Dig into the Deeper Benefits: Pointing out the deeper benefits of ultra-fast, fade-back speed helps to transition a patient from wanting these lenses to needing them. Primarily, people are looking for four things out of life: more money, time, convenience, and confidence. Ultra-fast photochromics offer each:
Wrapping it Up
Offering revolutionary advances in technology and performance, ultra-fast, light-reactive lenses are a perfect recommendation for current and previous photochromic wearers, as well as those who’ve been reluctant to try light-reactive lenses in the past.
Thank you for reading the Optician's Ultimate Guide to Light-Reactive Lenses. We hope you've enjoyed this three-part series. We invite you to explore SunSync's offerings in each of these categories: SunSync Elite, SunSync Elite XT, SunSync Drive XT, and original SunSync.
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