It’s no longer just frames that are being customized based on the lifestyle of wearers. Lens technology has also had to adapt and change to the demands of wearers. As the world continues to become more dependent on digital technology such as computers and smart phones, lens have had to adapt.
Product developers have had to look at what wearers are doing with their lenses to create new designs that not only help patients see, but adapt to the outside influences around them such as the light from screens and increased UV rays from the sun.
One of the leaders in driving this new technology is Seiko, distributed by Plastic Plus in Toronto, Ontario.
Two years ago they released the Seiko PCWide occupational lenses which have transformed how wearers perform digital tasks.
The lenses provide a large full power area for reading and close-up work.
“This is an entirely new category of occupation lenses, combining 100 per cent back-surface design with freeform surfacing technology to create lenses specifically optimized for the desktop environment,” said Michael Rybacki, senior vice-president of sales and marketing for Seiko.
As wearers go about their daily tasks, the immediate area uses reverse power accommodation technology to smoothly reduce the power as the eye rotates upwards through the lens.
The result is optimized vision for desktop computer monitor distances.
The lenses are available in a wide range of materials including 1.50 plastic, Trivex and polycarbonate as well as 1.60, 1.67 and 1.74 high index plastic.
“Patients with varying levels of accommodation power will realize the limitation of their single-vision or no-line bifocal eyewear when working at their desks and throughout the day,” said Rybacki.
“(These) lenses are specifically designed to provide comfortable vision for those who spend long hours working at their desks or on their computers.
Plastic Plus owner Paul Faibish says these lenses are an exceptional choice for eyecare providers to share with their clients.
He says these lenses are ideal for wearers who spend large amounts of their time in front of screens and these far exceed similar products for both adaptability and comfort.
“These lenses are task specific. Opticians can talk to their patients and determine their needs and requirements then find a lens that best suits them,” he said.
He adds these lenses are also a great product for dispensaries to consider when trying to make an additional sale, as they are something clients can add to their eyewear collection separate from their day-today glasses.
As technology users move away from relying on computers alone to receive information, there will be a sharp increase in the number of handheld devices. This means information can be carried in a pocket or purse and checked more frequently.
“With modern devices we are using technology in ways we didn’t years ago,” said David Pietrobon, President/General Manager of HOYA Care Canada.
He said lenses need to be developed that support the wearer’s eye concerns and allow them to complete all their digital tasks.
“We are now looking at AR coatings to help offset the impact of high energy visible light,” said Pietrobon.
The recently released Recharge glasses have an AR coating to reduce high energy visible light. This protects against glare and offers enhanced contrasts.
The Nulux Active provides enhanced support for the everyday demands of focusing and refocusing at various distances, a requirement for today’s visually dynamic wearer using today’s modern devices. The Nulux Active 8 has a front surface radial aspherical design with a vertical aspherical zone or area in the bottom part of the lens.
It is this drive to provide wearers with a customized experience that is shaping lens research and development. A variety of demographic factors are defining the direction of lens production.
As technology improves, lenses will continue to get more specialized and customized for patients according Director of Marketing and Communications for the Lens Division of Centennial Optical Limited Rick Leroux.
“We are experiencing growth in both finished and semi-finished single vision lenses. This is partly due to demographics and even more a result of changes in lens production technology,” he said.
“Free-form lens production has increased the demand for single vision lens blanks, which are turned into customized progressive lenses.”
Leroux notes this has led to a drop in demand for traditional progressive lenses.
He says the challenge is now for ECPs to understand the features and benefits of the many different customized lenses available.
Some new technology from Centennial include the BluTech Lenses, available in both indoor and outdoor versions, which filter high-energy blue and ultraviolet light using ocular lens pigment
combined with melanin infused in a high impact lens material to protect against age related macular degeneration.
“We are exposed to more sources of harmful light than ever before, including fluorescent lights and LCD screens,” he said.
The ChromaGen lenses take the evolution of lenses one step further offering visual correction for visual-based dyslexia and colour blindness.
“ChromaGen is a patented system of coloured filters which effectively change the speed of visual information to the brain’s neurological pathways, allowing the synchronization of both eyes,” said Leroux.