The Wonderful World of Lenses

By Andrew Karp
At the combined International Vision Expo West and The OLA shows held in Las Vegas in September, lens manufacturers showcased their new offerings. Check out what’s new for 2012.


Augen Optics released free-form HDRx Trinity progressives in a range of materials including photochromic, polarized and high index. The lenses are available in three distinct designs—Trinity 13/17 for general wear, Trinity 8/12 for small frames and Trinity Spacia for outdoor and technology activities. They can be optimized with the design on the back surface, or customized with the design on the front. Augen also introduced free-form HD single vision lenses for high-cylinder patients, and SV Spherical 1.0 lenses for producing custom free-form progressives on-site.

Hoya Vision Care introduced Hoya DF, a distortion free optics system that utilizes the Hoya Phoenix lens material with the company’s free-form lens designs and Avantek, a stress-free rimless frame mounting system. Among the system’s functional benefits are the elimination of frame intrusion into the lens, no drill holes, stress cracks or loosening screws, easy cleaning and no lenses falling out of frame wires. Fashion benefits include ultra-light weight with a minimalist look, and a new category of fashion design that accommodates any lens shape including concave and faceted. Retailer benefits include fewer returns, no multiple screws or attachment inventory. Hoya free-form progressives with EX3, SV and EX3 or polarized SV lenses are available.

iCoat’s new Inscribe lenses are digital backside-surfaced lenses that incorporate advanced digital algorithms, unlike conventionally direct-surfaced lenses, to derive a precise and unique lens design. Manufactured completely in real time, Inscribe lenses are a custom-optimized design that maximizes a patient’s particular visual needs. Inscribe lenses allow for precise reduction of blur and distortion to deliver the personalized power where it is needed most. The digital back-surface technology creating Inscribe lenses utilizes each patient’s PD, fitting height and Rx to automatically optimize the entire prescription for best corridor fit and overall visual clarity.

PixelOptics demonstrated its new empower! electronic eyeglasses. Visitors who stopped by the PixelOptics booth, were given the chance to experience firsthand how empower! eyeglasses work, as well as receiving a preview of the frame styles that will be available. Following the Southeast U.S. launch of empower!, PixelOptics will be sharing real experiences and quotes from consumers on what they like about emPower! eyewear.

Seiko Optical Products of America released Seiko PCWide, a new generation of occupational lenses. This is an entirely new category of occupational lenses for Seiko, combining 100 percent back-surface design with free-form surfacing technology to create lenses specifically optimized for the desktop environment. Seiko PCWide lenses are specifically designed to provide comfortable vision for those who spend long hours working at their desks or on their computers. The lenses provide a large full power area for reading and close-up work. The intermediate area then uses reverse power accommodation technology to smoothly reduce the power as the eye rotates upward through the lens, optimizing vision for desktop computer monitor distances. Three reverse power types are available, reducing power by 1.00, 1.50 and 2.00 diopters, respectively. PCWide 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. Transitions lenses are also available in all indexes except 1.74.

Younger Optics spotlighted Adage short-corridor progressive lenses at their booth. Adage offers a 13 mm minimum fitting height, so patients can enjoy the benefits of a unique, balanced design in their favorite smaller frames. This lens offers one of the largest usable near regions, a generously wide, short corridor, and 160 degrees of freedom in the distance area. Younger offers Adage in polycarbonate, in clear, NuPolar gray and brown, and Transitions gray and brown.


Photochromic lenses are hot this fall, and several companies rolled out new products at the show.

Carl Zeiss Vision introduced PhotoFusion by Zeiss, a new self-tinting lens that meets consumer demand for a product that darkens and clears faster. Outdoors, PhotoFusion lenses darken up to 20 percent faster than previous self-tinting lenses offered by Zeiss, and indoors they clear up to twice as fast. PhotoFusion lenses offer 100 percent UVA and UVB protection. They offer superior tint hue consistency and better retain indoor transparency over the life of the prescription than previous self-tinting lenses offered by Zeiss. PhotoFusion is currently available on all Carl Zeiss Vision premium customized lenses, as well as GT2 and GT2 Short by Zeiss.

Kodak Transitions lenses are the newest addition to Signet Armorlite’s family of Kodak lenses, combining proven progressive designs with the number one ECP-recommended photochromic lens material. Available in either semi-finished or three-dimensional back surface digital lenses, the Kodak Transitions progressive designs include Kodak Precise for visual clarity in all viewing areas of the lens, as well as the Kodak Precise Short and Kodak Concise lenses with optics designed specifically for smaller frames. Choose from 1.50, polycarbonate or 1.67 in gray or brown. Kodak Transitions Lenses include the new ArmorCoat scratch-resistant coating that is compatible with all major AR coatings. Transitions Optical is continuing to expand the availability of Transitions XTRActive lenses, the darkest, everyday Transitions lenses available. Transitions XTRActive lenses are an ideal choice for patients who spend a lot of time in bright, sunny conditions, and are looking for an everyday, adaptive lens that offers superior darkness outdoors in all temperatures. Transitions XTRActive lenses are available in a range of polycarbonate, 1.67 and Trivex materials, and in single-vision lenses and some Progressive Addition lenses. Availability from Essilor has recently expanded to include additional 1.50 and Varilux Comfort designs.


Photochromics weren’t the only lens treatments in the spotlight at Expo.

Essilor introduced Optifog prescription eyeglass lenses, a new generation of lenses with an exclusive anti-fog property. Optifog lenses also provide benefits such as glare reduction, protection against scratches and dust and ease of cleaning for superior clarity of vision. Launched in October, Optifog lenses have a patented anti-fog top coat making them a unique breakthrough in anti-fog technology. When paired with the Optifog Activator, Optifog lenses offer the best and most durable protection against foggy vision.

Among the new anti-reflective lenses hitting the market this fall is VELA Poly FSV AR lenses from Vision-Ease Lens, which is available in super-hydro and standard AR options. Offering exceptional value, the new line offers high abrasion resistance, low reflectivity and outstanding clarity, and the super-hydro AR option provides ultimate cleanability. Manufactured with multi-layer processing, VELA Poly FSV lenses offer a thermally cured hard coating with an excellent Bayer rating for superior scratch resistance. In addition, the lenses feature a seven-layer stack comprised of high and low indices resulting in reflectivity of less than 1.5 percent and minimal color reflectance. VELA Poly FSV AR lenses are available in 65/73 mm (spherical) and -6.00 to +4.00 (0.00 to -2.00 cylinder).


A new lens material, Hi-Vex, was introduced by Conant Optics. Hi-Vex provides clearer, color-free optics even in higher powers due to its high Abbe value of 46. It meets ANSI 87.1 High Velocity Lens Impact Test requirements for high impact safety eyewear at 2.0 mm and is certified by COLTS Laboratories. With a specific gravity of 1.25, Hi-Vex is much lighter than standard plastic lenses. Its high tensile strength, also certified by COLTS, enables it to be drilled and grooved easily and resists cracking. Because it is less heat sensitive, Hi-Vex offers excellent curve retention, resulting in better Rx powers even at 0.8 mm center thickness. It is resistant to common household chemicals and provides full protection from harmful UV light. Conant Optics recommends Hi-Vex for free-form production.

In the polycarbonate category, Optima re-released Resolution, its premium polycarbonate lens. Resolution is birefringence free and features an aspheric/atoric design for precise optics and a thinner lens. The lens is guaranteed against cracking when drilling, and is well suited for drill mounts. It tints to a sunglass in 10 minutes.


Labtalk June 2020