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Light Management

How Light Filtering Can Affect Visual Performance

Published on Jan 18, 2019
7 Minutes Read
Image showing halos and starbursts in vision photo

Total visual experience is multifaceted—it does not just include visual acuity. Contrast sensitivity, spatial awareness, discriminating efficiency, visual endurance, and sensations of visual and physical comfort are all factors that contribute to total visual experience and vision performance.1,2

Light filtering can impact some of the measures of visual performance including:

  • Disruption of vision due to bright light, which includes both a temporary impairment of vision and transitory irritation caused by light. These disruptions can reduce vision and give temporary discomfort when exposed to bright light, like engaging in outdoor activities on a bright day
  • Chromatic contrast, which can affect how colours are determined in a colourful visual scene, like distinguishing green trees from a blue sky
  • Squint response, a coping behaviour that attempts to lower uncomfortable levels of light
  • Visual range, which is affected by blue light scatter, like that caused by the atmosphere

Spectral filters can increase tolerance and enhance these performance measures. Light filtering can increase visual comfort during exposure to bright light, and can accelerate photostress recovery (the aftereffect of the exposure).3,4 Filters can also help to reduce squinting and starbursts, and can block the short wavelengths associated with blue haze. The use of spectral filters can help improve spatial vision through better detection of the edges of objects in a scene,5,6 which can positively impact chromatic contrast.

The use of spectral filters has been shown to improve functional vision compared to clear controls in both spectacle and IOL corrections. A recent study has shown meaningful improvement in the same measures for a first-of-its-kind photochromic contact lens.7

ACUVUE® OASYS contact lenses with Transitions Light Intelligent Technology™ provide both vision correction and a photochromic filter that helps balance the light entering the eye.

Measure Results Improvement compared with clear lens

Irritation caused by light

Temporary impairment of vision 

Significantly improved (P<0.05) with activated photochromic Gray 1 lens vs clear lens, as quantified by both the squint and subjective responses (P<0.05).

Significantly improved (P<0.05) with activated photochromic lenses tested vs clear lens.


Approximately 20% improvement*


Approximately 13% to 20% improvement 

Photostress recovery time

Significantly reduced (P<0.05) recovery time with activated photochromic Gray 1 lens, as quantified by both the squint and subjective responses (P<0.05). 

Approximately 33% improvement in recovery time 

Chromatic contrast

Significantly improved (P<0.05) with activated photochromic lenses tested vs clear lens. Improved chromatic contrast indicated when viewed through Gray 1 photochromic lens. 

Approximately 13% to 20% improvement 

*Note this response, as a psychological variable, is nonlinear.

Table 1: Summary of the effect of photochromic spectacle lenses on visual performance.

Read the Full Article > 


1. Jubin P, Buch J, Nankivil D. The three Dimensions of vision satisfaction. Contact Lens Spectrum. 2018;33:38-42, 51. Accessed December 13, 2018.

2. Buch J, Hofmann G, Ruston D. Getting into your comfort zone. Contact Lens Spectrum. 2018;33:34-38, 40, 41. Accessed December 13, 2018.

3. Hammond BR, Bernstein B, Dong J. The effect of the AcrySof natural lens on glare disability and photostress. Am J Ophthalmol. 2009;148:272-276.

4. Hammond BR Jr, Renzi LM, Sachak S, Brint SF. Contralateral comparison of blue-filtering and non-blue-filtering intraocular lenses: glare disability, heterochromatic contrast, and photostress recovery. Clin Ophthalmol. 2010;4:1465-1473.

5. Luria SM. Vision with chromatic filters. Am J Optom Arch Am Acad Optom. 1972;49:818-829.

6. Wolffsohn JS, Cochrane AL, Khoo H, Yoshimitsu Y, Wu S. Contrast is enhanced by yellow lenses because of selective reduction of short-wavelength light. Optom Vis Sci. 2000;77(2):73-81.

7.  Hammond B, Renzi-Hammond LM, Buch J, Cannon J, Toubouti Y. A contra-lateral comparison of the visual effects of clear vs. photochromic contact lenses. Presented at: 97th American Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting; November 7-10, 2018; San Antonio, TX.


These lenses are not a replacement for sunglasses.

ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses are indicated for vision correction. As with any contact lens, eye problems, including corneal ulcers, can develop. Some wearers may experience mild irritation, itching or discomfort. Lenses should not be prescribed if patients have any eye infection, or experience eye discomfort, excessive tearing, vision changes, redness or other eye problems. Consult the package insert for complete information. Complete information is also available from Johnson & Johnson Vision Care division of Johnson & Johnson Inc., by calling 1-800-267-5098 or by visiting

ACUVUE® OASYS is a trademark of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care division of Johnson & Johnson Inc.

Transitions, the Transitions logo and Transitions Light Intelligent Technology are trademarks of Transitions Optical, Inc. used under license by Transitions Optical Limited and Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

©Johnson & Johnson Vision Care division of Johnson & Johnson Inc. 2019  GCC19007  January 2019