Looking at Lenses

By Brian P. Dunleavy
Keeping up with the pace of spectacle lens innovation can be a daunting task.

Manufacturers constantly release new designs, update existing products or add new availability to existing lines. In fact, it’s possible the information in this story will be out of date by the time you read it—although we certainly hope not!

With our cover story in this issue focusing on the lab’s role in lens education, we decided to take a look at some of the new products you’ll be talking about with your customers in the coming months.

Essilor Essential Blue

Essilor is going “all-in” on blue light protection. With the launch of Essential Blue, all of the company’s spectacle lenses will be offered with a blue light protection option that filters three times as much harmful blue than a conventional clear lens.

Prior to Essential Blue, Essilor offered blue light protection on its Varilux digital, Eyezen single-vision and Crizal Prevencia lines. The new coating is designed to meet the needs of today’s eyeglass wearers, and their growing use of digital devices (which emit blue light), by filtering out harmful rays (415 to 455 nanometers) while allowing in rays that are beneficial to eye health (465 to 495 nanometers). The company cites survey data that indicates that 35 percent of consumers are aware of the dangers of blue light for the eyes.

For more information, visit www.essilorusa.com/eye-care-professionals/product-resources/essential-blue-series.

Kodak Unique DRO

Speaking of digital device use, Signet Armorlite has released Kodak Unique DRO (for “Dynamic Reading Optimization”) and Unique DRO HD progressive lenses, which are designed to provide support for “prolonged, comfortable use of the reading area” through an “optimized” reading zone, while providing wearers with vision for all distances.

Kodak Unique DRO features a full backside progressive lens design, Vision First/i-Sync technology, six corridor lengths and availability in more than 60 materials. DRO technology improves the overall optical performance of the lens while significantly reducing oblique astigmatic errors in the reading area, according to the company.

Compared to the Kodak Unique Lens, DRO increases the effective reading area by an average of 17 percent and decreases total oblique astigmatic errors in the reading zone by an average of 54 percent, Signet Armorlite reports. As a result, Kodak Unique DRO allows wearers’ eyes to comfortably focus in the reading area for longer periods of time.

For more information, visit www.SignetArmorlite.com or www.kodaklens.com/pro.

Zeiss UVProtect

Protection is also at the center of Zeiss’ latest innovation—UVProtect Technology, which the company bills as the first-ever complete sunglass-level ultraviolet (UV) protection (400 nanometers) available for clear organic eyeglass lens materials. Zeiss will now be offering this level of UV protection on all its lens designs and materials.

The World Health Organization has established 400 nanometers (UV400) as the recommended standard for UV eye protection—the highest protection available in premium sunglasses. To date, 380 nanometers (UV380) has been accepted as the standard level of UV protection for clear lenses by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), due to the fact that this was the highest level of protection that lens manufacturers could achieve in the most commonly sold lenses without compromising clarity, according to Zeiss.

The company cites data from The Vision Council, which highlights that the 380 nanometer UV protection found in most clear spectacles results in eyeglass-wearers being exposed to as much as 40 percent of the most harmful UV rays. This exposure is directly linked to photoaging, cancer, and cataracts.

With UVProtect Technology, Zeiss is hoping to establish a “new effective standard” for UV protection in clear lenses across all lens materials. As part of this effort, the company has no plans to patent UVProtect, with the idea that other lens manufacturers will adopt the technology. For more information, visit www.zeiss.com/UVProtect.

Coppertone Trivex

Speaking of protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays, Vision-Ease has expanded Coppertone Polarized Lenses line with new offerings in PPG's Trivex® material. The material’s extreme durability and chemical resistance combined with Coppertone’s advanced sun protection help create a lens that’s ideal for active eyeglass-wearers. Coppertone was previously available in polycarbonate.

Like Coppertone polycarbonate lenses, Coppertone Trivex lenses block 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays, and filter blue light. The lenses also eliminate more than 97 percent of blinding glare, and are recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as an effective UV filter for the eyes and surrounding skin. Coppertone Trivex lenses are available in gray and brown semi-finished single-vision, and can be used with all sunglass and frame styles, from wrap to rimless and beyond. For more information, visit www.visionease.com.

Younger NuPolar Infinite Grey

The sun is also the focus of Younger’s latest launch, NuPolar Infinite Grey.

According to the company, the new lens is designed to combine its “award-winning” NuPolar polarization technology with state-of-the art photochromics, thereby adding “adaptability” to corrective sunlenses. NuPolar Infinite Grey offers the widest possible range of light transmittance while maintaining 99 percent polarization efficiency, the company reports.

NuPolar Infinite Grey was developed in response to complaints from prescription eyeglass wearers that their sunlenses were “either too light or too dark, typically at the wrong times,” Younger said. As Rx wearers, they don’t have the option of removing their sunglasses when lighting conditions change, making adaptability key. At their lightest state, NuPolar Infinite Grey lenses allow for 35 percent light transmittance, compared to only 9 percent at their darkest state.

For more information, visit www.youngeroptics.com/nupolar.aspx.

Sensity Dark and Shine

Hoya, meanwhile, are looking at light a little bit differently, with the launch of Sensity Dark, which they bill as “the next generation of light-reactive technology,” and Sensity Shine.

The new lenses are designed to “break down the barriers and objections patients had with old photochromics,” the company said.

According to Hoya, Sensity Dark will darken more outdoors, activate behind the windshield of the car and fade back to full clarity. The lenses are available in bronze-brown, silver-grey and emerald-green.

Sensity Shine lenses also activate behind the windshield of the car, while offering wearers a “fashion-forward look,” with mirror coating. The lens colors for Shine—grey, brown and green—are designed to provide “ideal contrast and glare reduction without sacrificing precise vision.” For more information, visit www.hoyavision.com/discover-products/for-eye-care-professionals/photochromic-lenses/.

Transitions Contact Lenses

Our last new product isn’t a spectacle lens, but it is still a notable innovation focused on eye protection.

Transitions Optical has partnered with Johnson & Johnson Vision to make light-adaptive photochromic technology available in a contact lens: Acuvue Oasys with Transitions Light Intelligent Technology

Billed as a “first-of-its-kind contact lens,” the new product is designed to provide wearers with vision correction and a dynamic photochromic filter to “balance the amount of light entering the eye.” Acuvue Oasys with Transitions are designed to “quickly and seamlessly adjust from clear to dark in response to changing sunlight conditions,” thus reducing exposure to bright light indoors and outdoors. The contact lenses also filter blue light, based on the level of activation, and block UV rays.

Acuvue Oasys with Transitions has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is indicated for attenuation of bright light. The two-week reusable, spherical contact lens will be commercially available from Johnson & Johnson Vision Care in first half of 2019. ■