By Julie Bos
Most lens laboratories would agree: Finding long-term success in today’s market is more like a marathon than a sprint. Keeping quality high, your pricing on point and your competitive edge sharp is literally a full-time job—and it’s often the small changes in focus and behavior that can make a big difference over time.

Case in point: Selling polarized lenses. We all know that this category represents a huge opportunity for labs to increase sales and boost profitability. Plus, polarized lenses can double the size of an eye care business because once customers get hooked on polarized lenses, they rarely go back to traditional tinted sun wear. But not every lab focuses on this opportunity for second-pair sales.

By renewing your focus on this growing niche, your lab could very well pick up new sales momentum, while locking in new customers and a lucrative revenue stream.
To help your lab stay up-to-date on the polarized niche (and make new strides in your business), we’ve assembled the latest product offerings from several industry leaders:

Essilor USA
Xperio UV is the first, complete outdoor sun lens solution that eliminates blinding reflective glare while providing the maximum UV protection on both the front and backside of the lens. Additionally, the lenses are the only option on the market to offer an Eye-Sun Protection Factor (E-SPF) of 50+, which provides at least 50 times more protection from dangerous UV radiation compared to wearing no lenses at all. Xperio UV polarized sun lenses has been designed to reduce UV reflections from the rear surface of the lens. Key elements of Xperio UV include:
• Sharp vision and clarity to see vibrant colors
• Provides maximum UV protection (50+)
• Scratch-resistant and the most durable sun lens available
• Eliminates all types of glare
• Resists dirt, dust, smudges, oil and dirt
• Designed to reduce UV reflections from the rear surface of the lens (see related sidebar)

Kaenon’s proprietary SR-91 is the only lens material that combines the superior optical quality of the finest glass and the lightweight, strength and impact resistance of polycarbonate (though it is neither Glass, nor Polycarbonate, nor CR-39).

Paired with Glare 86, Kaenon’s exclusive and proprietary polarizing element, SR-91 polarized lenses reduce glare up to 99.9 percent and provide complete protection against all harmful UV rays. At an incredible 30 microns thin, Glare 86 is completely encapsulated inside the lens. Ultra-lightweight and thin, the SR-91 material has a naturally high strength-to-weight ratio. This translates into superior comfort when worn for extended periods of time. Additionally, SR-91, despite its lightweight properties, is an extremely durable lens material, superior in impact resistance and features superior scratch-resistance as compared to polycarbonate lenses, providing razor-sharp clarity.

All Kaenon Polarized lenses are available in both Single Vision and Freestyle Progressive prescription options. New this season is Kaenon’s polarized Brown lens color, which joins the already existing Gray, Copper and Yellow lenses.

Transitions Optical
Transitions Vantage lenses are the only adaptive lenses with variable polarization, delivering crisper, sharper vision—even in the brightest outdoor glare. These lenses block 100 percent UVA and UVB rays and not only adapt to changing light but also increase polarization as they darken, optimizing the angle at which light reaches the eyes to help control glare and light scatter.

Transitions Vantage lenses use technology that is different than conventional photochromic and polarization technologies. The photochromic dyes in Transitions Vantage lenses not only darken, but they also align to create polarization. This technology does not use a polarized film, and while the photochromic molecules still change shape when exposed to UV light, they also change alignment.

Transitions Vantage: Resources You Can Use
Processing Transitions Vantage lenses is different than processing other Transitions adaptive lenses. Industry professionals can watch short video tutorials, available at or on the Transitions Optical YouTube Channel (, on how to properly align Transitions Vantage lenses to ensure patients receive the maximum polarization benefits. The videos cover the following topics:

• Laboratory surfacing and edging: ensuring proper alignment of a semi-finished Transitions Vantage lens
• In-office edging: guidelines for in-office finishing of an uncut Transitions Vantage lens
• Inspection for proper alignment: what to look for during the final inspection
• Presenting Transitions Vantage lenses: tips for talking about the lenses and how to identify a Transitions Vantage lens patient

Vision-Ease Lens
Vision-Ease has been in the polarized lens market for years with its Coppertone Polarized Lenses. But in April, Vision-Ease introduced the new Novel and Novella conventional front side progressives, whose advanced technology makes them as good as or better than many backside digital progressives across 80 percent of the Rx range. The vast majority of customers rely on conventional PAL technology, and these new PAL offerings provide them with the most advanced technology on the market.

The Novel general purpose lens has a 13 mm corridor and a 16.5 mm minimum fitting height, making it ideal for the broadest range of wearers and frame styles. Immediate polycarbonate availability includes clear, LifeRx photochromic and Coppertone polarized treatments. The polarized treatment provides wearers the benefits of Vision-Ease’s Coppertone Polarized Lenses, which were first introduced in 2008. The treatment blocks 100 percent of UVA/UVB rays and protects again HEV light for superior eye and skin protection. The company plans to release the new Novel design in plastic, including clear and photochromic, later this year.

Coppertone Polarized Lens Site Targets Consumer Awareness
To educate the public and raise awareness about the benefits of polarized lenses, Vision-Ease Lens created a consumer-facing website for its Coppertone Polarized Lenses. The site covers topics including sunlight and eye protection, the advantages of polarized lenses and information about Coppertone polarized lens technology. The information easily transitions into talking points about Coppertone Polarized Lenses and includes:

• How polarized lenses protect eyes from sunlight and sun damage
• An interactive “See the Difference” image, where viewers can compare gray and brown polarized treatments
• A diagram with information on the anatomy of Coppertone polarized lenses
For more information, visit

Younger Optics
Younger Optics continues to expand its NuPolar family of polarized single vision lenses to include 1.60 and 1.67 High Index lenses, available in 8 bases in gray, brown, and green. Made from Mitsui Chemicals’ MR materials, they are suitable for both conventional and digital processing. These new offerings were added in response to the many requests from independent optical laboratories.

“The NuPolar lens family just keeps growing,” said David Rips, president and CEO of Younger Optics. “Younger works hard to provide labs with products that keep their businesses successful. That’s all part of our effort to be the easiest company to do business with.”

Now labs can offer an even more complete line of quality NuPolar lenses to eye care professionals. NuPolar high-index lenses are the most recent addition to the quickly growing NuPolar lens family, which includes hard resin, polycarbonate, high index 1.60 and 1.67, and of course, NuPolar Trilogy–Visual Armor.

Drivewear sun lenses uniquely combine two of the most advanced technologies found in the eyeglass industry today: Transitions photochromic technology and NuPolar polarization.

• High efficiency polarizer blocks blinding glare in all conditions and lens states—even in low light.
• Photochromics sense and react to varying light conditions both outside and behind the windshield of the car.

NuPolar iPad App—Now Available
Looking for a new tool to help you sell more polarized lenses? Younger Optics has introduced the industry’s first polarized lens iPad app. The NuPolar iPad app from Younger Optics makes learning and talking about polarized lenses interesting and exciting for both ECPs and patients. ECPs and Patients can use the NuPolar app to:

• See a video which explains how polarized light is created, and how NuPolar lenses block blinding glare
• See real-life situations in which NuPolar lenses improve vision by blocking glare.
To find the free NuPolar iPad app, search “NuPolar” in the iTunes store.

ZEISS offers polarized gray and brown options on customized progressive and single vision lenses, along with GT2 and GT2 Short by ZEISS. Material choices include 1.5 and polycarbonate, with NXT Trivex and NXT Trivex polarized/photochromic available on most lenses. ZEISS also offers ZEISS Progressive Individual 2, ZEISS Progressive Choice Plus*, and ZEISS Individual Single Vision in designs specifically created for highly wrapped sunlenses. Through a combination of advanced customized designs and proprietary ZEISS Rx and prism compensation, ZEISS Wrap lenses offer up to 50 percent wider areas of clear vision compared to standard lens designs in wrap frames.

*Available summer 2013.

Brought to you by iCoat

• Avoid leaving lenses blocked for long durations as some blocking pad adhesives bond with coatings over extended periods of time and can damage the coatings.
• Pads should be evaluated for adhesion and ease of removal. This can help avoid any slippage and de-blocking issues.
• Polarized Axis Alignment – Use an appropriate polarized axis alignment tool to mark the 180° line prior to blocking. Match horizontal indicators to 180° within 3.0° for each lens.
• Maintain the sharpness of the edger cutting tool or wheel to avoid issues relating to de-alignment of the polarized axis.
• Use router-style edging for polycarbonate polarized lenses.
• Rx Prism and Alignment – Be sure to include Rx prism and base direction accurately.
• Edge color – Edging polarized lenses leaves the edges of the lenses white or frosted. Following manufacturers guideline, a CR-39 lens can be tinted after edging to match the edge color back to its base tint color. However, a polycarbonate or high index lens does not have good tint absorption characteristics and may require the help of lens edge treatments for a smooth even finish.
• Do not apply acetone or alcohol to the edges of the polarized lenses.
• Groove with caution and keep away from the polarizing film.
• Finish lenses carefully in frames to avoid unnecessary stress. Matching lens base curve to frame base curve or wrap also helps to avoid stress when mounting polarized lenses.

Here’s some helpful information you may want to pass onto your customers.
• A recent survey demonstrated that while over 96precent of Americans recognize UV exposure is damaging to skin, less than 6precent had the same recognition for eyes. Much like skin, the structures of the eye are damaged by exposure to UV light.
• Even when UV exposure cannot be avoided, there are numerous ways to block exposure. UV blocking clothing can protect most of the body, hats are vital for protecting the sensitive skin of the face, and SPF lotion can provide some protection to exposed skin. Proper sunwear can also protect your eyes.
• The reflectance of UV from the back of a sun lens is of particular importance, because the concave rear surface of a lens acts like a collector in a reflecting telescope. Try taking a curved mirror out on a sunny day, and the collective properties of a concave surface become apparent. Consider a person reading outside on a sunny day. With the head tilted down, the sun is placed behind the wearer and the lens acts just like a collector—focusing UV directly upon the cornea and inner structures of the eye.


May/June LabTalk 2017