By Troy Patterson
As 2018 rolls out, the top lens manufacturers in Canada are focusing on their technological advances in the field, while at the same time bringing unique offerings that set themselves apart from their competition.
Eye protection from UV radiation and blue light continues to be a focus alongside quality and utility required by eyeglass wearers who depend on their products day in and day out. And by providing these options, eye care professionals continue to have a healthy variety of options to choose from to meet patient needs.
Optical Prism set out to ask Essilor, Centennial, Plastic Plus and Transitions brands what their ‘latest and greatest’ in lens technology looks like for 2018. The brands each aim to put their best foot forward into the New Year, discussing the quality, advantages and diversity of their offerings that will showcase what they’ve been working on to add to their stake in the eyecare industry.
Essilor brings to the table both its Varilux X Series and Eye Protect System for 2018.
A Silmo d’Or winner in October 2017, the Varilux X series progressive lenses remain the leading innovation in their field and were developed to meet the needs of all presbyopes who are active in their personal and professional lives, and avid users of digital tools.
“Thanks to the Xtend technology design innovation, Varilux X series lenses no longer require wearers to move their head to find the right viewing angle,” says Kristel Bordeleau-Tassile, marketing manager for Varilux.
The combination of the technology with a new calculation system enables Essilor to design lenses with greater precision in order to meet the need to see clearly at multiple distances on the same axis of vision, especially within arm’s reach, where the majority of daily activities take place.
Meanwhile Essilor’s Eye Protect System includes product combinations guaranteed to block at least 20% of harmful blue light, whether the lenses are clear or adaptive, and to offer a minimum UV protection of E-SPF 25 with its Crizal technology.
“Our exposure to harmful blue-light keeps increasing because of our lifestyle,” says Nathalie Boisvert, product marketing manager. “That’s why, inspired by its mission to improve lives by improving sight, Essilor created Eye Protect System. It provides the optimal visual solution for the short and long-term eye health of consumers.”
Essilor’s goal is to provide consumers with a global solution to protect their eyes against both harmful UV and blue light.
For 2018 Plastic Plus says it’s proud to showcase Vandelay Camber as a new family of lenses calculated by Camber Technology, combining complex curves on both surfaces of the lens to provide excellent vision correction.
The unique continueously changing surface curvature of the specifically designed lens blank allows expanded reading zones with improved peripheral vision.
“This lens is beneficial for ‘plus’ patients and it offers a dual-sided technology,” says Plastic Plus president Paul Faibish. “On the backside we process a digital design and the front side Camber has a variable base curve.”
Faibish says this means a perfect base curve for each visual zone.
“This unique technology results in better vision, thinner lenses, expanded visual fields and superior optics,” he says.
The lens allows for better vision because the exclusive front surface matches perfectly with the back digital design and is 100% customizable. This also allows for great visual acuity in near vision for better comfort.
The full family of Camber lenses allows Plastic Plus the ability to create a customized portfolio for eyecare providers to differentiate from others while adapting to their market needs.
“Plastic Plus leads the industry in offering lens technology from multiple manufacturers,” says Faibish. “We also proudly manufacture all our lenses in Canada in our state of the art facility and send no work offshore.”
In the 21st century, Centennial’s lens business has evolved over 50 years with the introduction of new free-form digital technology so that, while semi-finished lenses remain an important part of their product, a large proportion of these lenses are dedicated to producing digitally customized progressive and office lenses.
Centennial provides uncut digital lenses under its own house brands of CHOICE and Centoptic, as well as designs from some of the best-known optical brands, to meet all of our customers’ needs.
What makes Centennial’s lens business unique in Canada is that, rather than being a manufacturer of one brand of lens products, the company operates independently but in partnership with competitors who are also suppliers and customers, and Centennial is in turn a supplier and customer to competing lens manufacturers.
“The next big technological shift in the optical industry will likely be the application of 3D printing technology to the production of both lenses and frames,” says Centennial’s Rick Leroux. “While the technology is still in a relatively experimental phase at present, it has the potential to be a hugely disruptive force, simultaneously providing exciting new possibilities for our industry. Centennial is committed to continue evolving to best meet its customers’ requirements, whether the new technology is in the product itself, how it is manufactured, or in simply making it easier for its customers to order and receive the products to best meet their clients’ needs.”
Leroux says Centennial’s aim is to provide a one-stop source of supply and same-day shipping for a vast range of ophthalmic lens products and, if a specialty product is not stocked in one of Centennial’s three lens warehouses, it can usually be special-ordered for the customer.
In 2018, Transitions Optical is going to continue put a focus on the style aspect of Transitions lenses.
“The protection benefits of Transitions lenses like filtering UV and harmful blue light are a common topic of discussion, however the style aspect of Transitions lenses is often overlooked,” said Patience Cook, director of Transitions Optical North America marketing. “Eyewear is a unique product where style and health intersect, so in 2018 we are going to help eyecare professionals show their patients how the different lens colours available from Transitions can help them create their own unique look.”
At the end of 2017, Transitions Optical created style materials that provide eyecare professionals with tips for finding the style in eyewear and merchandising their office space to better display eyewear options to patients. These include the Lens Style Guide, the Style One-Page Handout and ABO Course presentation that can be downloaded online by ECPs to teach them about the latest trends, fashion and focus on not just frames, but lenses as well
Eyewear has evolved from a functional product to an important style component. To help ECPs build their practice and take advantage of the opportunities an uptrend in style presents, Transitions Optical created the tools to help ECPs become more knowledgeable about the lens style arena and provide information on how to style Transitions lenses – including frame and lens combinations and colour matching.
“Patients may not be aware of some of the options you are able to offer, like pairing a Transitions XTRActive lens with a flash-mirror coating to complement the different levels of tint,” says Cook.