The Latest Sun Lenses... Are You in the Game?

By Karen Appold
You can’t play the game without the proper equipment. For optical labs, you can’t be considered an expert in the niche market of sunwear, if you don’t have the lenses to back up your claims. Lens companies have created an abundance of choices when it comes to sun lens products including specialized lenses for driving, golfing and your customer’s outdoor needs. But you can’t sell what you don’t have, so here’s a chance to find out what’s available from the top sun lens manufacturers.

Carl Zeiss Vision

Carl Zeiss Vision recently expanded its line of polarized lenses to include two customized single vision designs (ZEISS Individual SV and ZEISS 3D), and three customized progressive lenses (ZEISS GT2 3D and 3D Short, and ZEISS GT2 3DV). Its driver-specific tint called “Driver’s Seat,” part of its Performance Lens Series, provides contrast enhancements for driving. A popular trend in sunwear, highly wrapped frames, creates more demand for lens technology that can deliver superior vision in an 8-base, such as the Spazio design from Carl Zeiss Vision. Mirror coatings are also making a comeback.

TIP “ Labs should work with practices to ensure that they have a well-rounded selection of plano sunglasses that encompass fashion, function and performance needs. Labs can also make recommendations on which sunglass frames will work with which prescription lenses. ” Jeff Hopkins, senior manager, customer communications, Carl Zeiss Vision


Xperio polarized lenses not only deliver optimal visual performance, they also improve stopping distance while driving by virtually eliminating dangerous road and windshield glare. Clinical studies demonstrate that Xperio polarized lenses improve driver reaction times by a third of a second. For a vehicle traveling 50 mph, a third of a second allows a driver to stop a vehicle 23 feet sooner. That’s the length of an intersection and could mean the difference between having an accident and avoiding one.

A new product, iRx Xperio Transitions SOLFX, combines the polarized technology of Xperio with the photochromic technology from Transitions Optical. This product is currently available through Specialty Lens Corporation.

All of the polarized offerings found under the Xperio brand are compatible with Crizal Sun with Scotchgard Protector. Crizal Sun lenses with Scotchgard Protector make the hardest sun lenses to scratch, even easier to clean. They eliminate more than 99 percent of reflections from the lens’ backside, and reduce reflections from the sun, which can cause eyestrain.

From a fashion standpoint, there’s increased interest in oversized frames and lenses. The Xperio Wrap Solutions product distributed by KBco and Essilor’s new Ideal Advanced Wrap lenses will help meet this growing demand. Essilor recently introduced Essilor Ideal Advanced Wrap Progressive Addition Lenses, specifically tailored for wrap lens design. The Essilor Ideal lens design offers a full back side design. Also available is a single vision clear wrap, Essilor 360° SV Wrap, for non-presbyopic patients desiring wrap frame styles.

TIP “ First and foremost, Xperio polarized lenses allow patients to see better during outside activities. They also provide peace of mind because they reduce road and windshield glare while driving. This is a compelling and measurable benefit that seems to resonate with our customers and consumers. ” Gregory Rodriguez III, brand manager, Essilor

Kaenon Polarized

Kaenon Polarized–SR-91 polarized prescription lenses continue to evolve—full frame, large 8-base, semi-rimless and rimless drill mount are available. They come in all base curves (1, 2, 4.25, 6.25 and 8.25) to accommodate all power/correction requirements in all Kaenon Polarized SR-91 purpose-built lens tints and light transmission levels. The lenses have an Abbe value of 40, a specific gravity of 1.15 and certified hi-mass impact resistance. While all Kaenon branded prescription products are offered in its free-form digitally surfaced Freestyle prescription design, all progressives and single vision lenses are individually digitally surfaced. Kaenon also offers a new short corridor design with a 13mm minimum fitting height to accompany its 18mm tall corridor.

The newest trend in sunwear lenses are lightweight, durable, non-polycarbonite lenses that have an Abbe value of 40 that offers impact resistance. They are offered in all base curves and a vast array of tints and light transmission levels for any sport or fashion need. They are always digitally surfaced and are offered in single vision and progressive.

Regarding driving glasses, only polarization with a high efficiency level can offer glare-free optics. Combined with prescription designs and applications, Kaenon Polarized offers free-form designs in both single vision and progressive on its SR-91 polarized lenses—now with two fitting heights.

TIP “ We rely totally on superior product and service. No tricks, no gimmicks. A seriously better consumer experience. ” Steve Rosenberg, founder/CEO, Kaenon Polarized

Specialty Lens Corporation

As previously mentioned, Specialty Lens Corporation offers the new iRx Xperio Transitions SOLFX lens. The product offers a new adaptable photochromic polarized lens that is perfect for patients who encounter varying light conditions. Whether golfing, boating, skiing, hiking or doing just about any other outdoor activity, this new photochromic polarized lens will provide the highest protection and performance in the sun while adjusting to changing lighting conditions.

The iRx Transitions SOLFX lens is also an excellent lens for driving due to the effectiveness of the base ash and caramel color filters. The ash has a 35 percent light transmission and the caramel has a 30 percent light transmission. The photochromics are activated by ultra-violet (UV) light. The ash gets to 15 percent transmission at its darkest state, while the caramel gets to 12 percent at its darkest state.

TIP “ We offer educational events through our laboratory customers to educate patients about the iRx Xperio Transitions SOLFX lens. We developed a program for our lab customers to simplify pricing on our hi-index polarized products for the summer. ” Eric Lindquist, sales manager, Specialty Lens Corporation

Transitions Optical

Transitions SOLFX’s family of products include DEFINITY FAIRWAY Transitions SOLFX, Drivewear Transitions SOLFX, iRx Xperio Transitions SOLFX and NEOX Transitions SOLFX.

Drivewear Transitions SOLFX lenses from Younger Optics are uniquely designed to react to UV light as well as the visible light that enters a car’s windshield. Drivewear lenses are the only polarized photochromic that can change behind the windshield of a car during daylight driving conditions. This helps drivers achieve optimal vision in all light conditions.

In low light, such as overcast conditions, the lenses are a green/yellow color to provide high contrast, minimize glare and maximize useful light information reaching the eye.

Behind the windshield, the lenses change to a copper color, which reduces glare and excess visual light and provides good traffic signal recognition. In outdoor, bright-light conditions they become a dark reddish-brown color to provide maximum comfort in bright light conditions by filtering excess light. Theses lenses incorporate NuPolar polarization to block vision-impairing glare. Like all Transitions products, Drivewear lenses block 100 percent of UVA/UVB rays.

TIP “Transitions Optical offers a variety of tools designed to help both labs and doctors better understand the benefits of Transitions lenses. Transitions’ Web site contains product information and interactive demo tools that allow the patient to experience the benefit of adaptive sun lenses online. ” Cathy Rauscher, marketing manager, Transitions Sunwear, Transitions Optical

Younger Optics

After five years of development, Younger Optics has announced the arrival of a revolutionary new polarized lens NuPolar Trilogy—Visual Armor. Trilogy was based on research originally developed for the military. This research fueled efforts to bring together impact protection, great optics, light weight and chemical resistance all in one innovative lens material. Now Trilogy has been combined with NuPolar, which offers Rx polarized technology, to create NuPolar Trilogy lenses.

Polarized lenses do what no other lens or lens treatment can: block blinding glare. NuPolar lenses offer superb adhesion characteristics that ensure that the lenses will not delaminate or separate, consistent true curve control (perfect for today’s digital surfacing requirements) and high polarization efficiency. NuPolar lenses also have superb color uniformity and color consistency. NuPolar Trilogy lenses are the most recent addition to the quickly growing NuPolar lens family, which includes hard resin, polycarbonate and high index 1.67.

TIP “ Drivewear marketing materials are available thru the Web site. ‘Stories from the Road’ patient brochures are an excellent aid to all labs as a ‘leave behind’ informational piece for eye care professionals. ”

Robert Lee, Younger Optics

Golf Lenses: A Hole in One Experience

Today’s golf lenses are designed to improve visibility on the course, which ultimately could result in a better game.

Transitions SOLFX’s family of products includes three sun lenses optimized to help golfers’ improve their vision. The newest golf lens is NEOX Transitions SOLFX. NEOX lenses are the exclusive lenses featured in Callaway Eyewear and are available in fixed tint non-prescription sunglasses worldwide. They are the first dynamic prescription and non-prescription sun lenses to use NEOX lens technology. Walman Optical has an agreement with Callaway Golf Company to promote a trendsetting Callaway Sunwear collection that features NEOX Transitions SOLFX outdoor lenses.

NEOX Transitions SOLFX sun lenses are engineered to counteract problems encountered with typical non-prescription sunglasses, such as distortion in both color and object sight and decreased depth of field, delivering increased depth perception, better distance vision and superior clarity. The sun lenses have a contrast enhancing green base tint and activate to a darker color in the same hue in bright light. NEOX Transitions SOLFX sun lenses use Transitions Optical’s advanced photochromic technology to provide the right color and tint for optimal performance in varying lighting conditions. They are designed to allow golfers to clearly see terrain changes, easily track a ball’s flight and deliver clearer contours on the green to assist with putting. Oakley Transitions SOLFX combines the advanced photochromic technology from Transitions Optical with patented Oakley lens and frame innovations including distinctive design and High Definition Optics. Golf lenses include the Oakley G40 Transitions SOLFX sun lenses to provide the best comfort, clarity and performance possible.

Essilor’s newest PAL for golfers is the DEFINITY FAIRWAY Transitions SOLFX lenses. Definity progressive lenses are designed specifically for presbyopic golfers, with unique features to improve visual performance in every aspect of the game. Benefits include:

The Definity Ground View Advantage allows golfers to follow the ball more clearly, from tee to green.The least amount of peripheral distortion and improved depth perception to help golfers read greens. Wider fields of vision across all visual zones for better course management. DEFINITY FAIRWAY Transitions SOLFX lenses are designed to meet the unique visual demands of golfers needing multifocal prescriptions. They combine the patented DUAL ADD 2.0 Technology and Ground View Advantage of Definity lenses with the advanced photochromic technology of Transitions SOLFX sunlenses to provide golfers with the right color and darkness for optimal performance in varying light conditions.

This product comes with an exclusive amber tint which improves contrast to sharpen colors and contours on the course. The lens comes with Crizal Sun Mirrors with Scotchgard Protector and provides the ultimate in clarity, comfort, scratch resistance and cleanability.

The iRx Xperio Transitions SOLFX lens, offered by Specialty Lens Corporation, is also excellent for golfing (especially the caramel color) since it adapts to changing light conditions and provides the highest level of protection and performance in the sun.

Carl Zeiss Vision’s offering in the golf category is a tint in its Performance Lens Series called “Field of Play,” which enhances the white golf ball against the sky and the green of fairways and putting surfaces to provide better depth perception.

Kaenon Polarized sunwear products are proven leaders on the golf course. The company offers the first polarized lens to be played on every major golf tour in the world and it’s the only polarized lens to have won on every major golf tour in the world. Its philosophy is simple—superior clarity with accurate depth perception, impact resistant, lightweight and available in specific, purpose-built lens tints and light transmission levels that meet the personal needs of professionals and amateurs alike.


Labtalk June 2020