What You Need to Know About A New Lens Material

By Christie Walker
It’s not often that a small consumer brand will develop a product that catches the interest of an industry, but that seems to be the case with Kaenon Polarized. Kaenon sells polarized sunwear–frames and lenses–directly to consumers and to some of the best athletes in their fields such as golfer Davis Love, III and female racecar driver Danica Patrick. Not satisfied with the current lens materials available, Kaenon developed a new lens product that would meet the high standards they set for their products.

“The products on the market right now are only good for certain applications and under certain conditions,” explained Steve Rosenberg, president of Kaenon Polarized. “Poly is a great product for impact resistance but has significant down sides. It’s only good in certain conditions and doesn’t have that great of visual clarity. In my opinion, poly doesn’t marry well with polarized technology, either. There is a tremendous amount of cracking and splitting. Glass, on the other hand is similar in that it has its pros and cons. Glass has great optical clarity, great scratch resistance but no impact resistance and it’s heavy as well. CR-39 is a nice compromise between the two since it’s relatively good optically, works well with polarization, is lightweight, but will shatter and scratches easily. We set out to develop a non-compromising lens material that takes the best qualities from all the materials.”

What they created is SR-91, a completely new lens material that advances polarized lens technology to a new level. SR-91 combines the highest optical quality of the finest glass lenses with the ultra-light weight and strong impact-resistance of the best polycarbonate lenses. To verify these claims, Kaenon sent their lenses to COLTS Laboratories, an independent testing facility. It was determined that SR-91 lenses had an optical acuity and clarity of 40 lines of resolution–the highest possible score in the Definition and Resolving power category of the U.S. government testing standard, ANSI Z.87.1. COLTS also found SR-91 exceeded the high-mass impact standards mandated by ANSI Z.87.1.

“We tested the Kaenon polarized lens for impact resistance, optical clarity, abrasion resistance, spectral analysis and polarized efficiency, and the product met all requirements for ANSI Z80.3, the sunglass standard,” said John Young, COLTS Laboratories.

According to COLTS Laboratories, SR-91 has:

• met ANSI Z 87.1 high velocity requirements for safety lenses,

• averaged a ratio of 4.0 in the Bayer abrasion test,

• and scored 156 on the ANSI Z80.3 requirements that say a polarizer has to reach at least a score of 20 in the more efficient Type 1 polarizer.

When optical laboratories heard about SR-91 they started asking for the lens. Kaenon saw the opportunity in Rx and now offers SR-91 for single vision prescriptions.

“We became a lens supplier because there was a demand,” said Rosenberg. “We’ve opened up our lens technology to the lab network, selling our genuine lenses to labs such as Sutherlin Optical, Soderberg and Pech Optical.”

Optical laboratories can now stock and sell SR-91 plano and single vision lenses, offering this new technology to the their customers. Kaenon works with the labs to get the message out to the doctors to help drive sales.

“We give the doctors the ability to use our athletes in the discussion and marketing of our products. The patient can now wear the same lens that Davis Love wears for golf. Anyone can say they’ve created a special lens for golfers but unless professional golfers are using the product, how much value does that statement carry,” said Rosenberg.

Doctors can buy Kaenon lenses from authorized labs and put the lenses in non-Kaenon frames, creating a unique product with exceptional visual characteristics.

Available in three lens tints–grey, copper and yellow–and in 5 base curves–1, 2, 4.25, 6.25 and 8.25, Kaenon Polarized SR-91 lenses are guaranteed for life against delamination, cracking or splitting. Visit www.kaenon.com for more information.


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May/June LabTalk 2017