There’s a wide variety of progressive lenses available these days, from a broad range of suppliers. One only needs to take a look at the Eye Talk bible. It features hundreds of pages, filled with dozens of manufacturers and seemingly thousands of progressive lens versions, each with different features, levels of quality and pricing. Even within a specific manufacturer’s lens portfolio there are many options to consider.
It’s no wonder some find progressive lens prescribing daunting and frustrating, and many tend to focus on a limited number of suppliers and lens designs. So how do you determine the best option to meet each patient’s needs?
Freeform design, coupled with modern lens generation, allows almost unlimited front and back surface geometries and optics. While enabling the production of cheaper basic progressive lenses, freeform design has also facilitated production of the most sophisticated progressive optical surfaces thanks to the application of findings from complex research and development as well as modelling to understand human behaviour and binocular vision in the real world.
When determining which lens options to recommend, one consideration should be the demographics of your target market, which will of course vary greatly according to your practice location.
there’s a golden opportunity to promote personalised premium progressive lenses to the 93% of potential patients who haven’t yet heard about the benefits
The lens needs of patients who visit a practice in a suburb dominated by young families, schools and universities, for example, may differ from those who attend a practice in a suburb that has a large population of retired people. A practice in a high-net-worth suburb will tend to sell more premium progressive lenses than a practice in a poorer demographic. That said, it’s important to never assume that a patient does or does not want to afford the best.
While some practices will focus on the bottom end of the market and fight to achieve high volume sales of low-price progressive lenses, smart practitioners realise that wherever possible, it’s prudent to offer patients premium designs and features, despite the higher price tag. The latter will inevitably offer better function for the wearer with less distortion, easier adaption and in many cases, thinner, lighter and more comfortable spectacles, with greater flexibility.
From a business perspective, premium lenses that offer a reasonable margin will inevitably improve your profit margin. You can only write so many prescriptions in one day, so prescribing lenses with bigger margins makes good financial sense. Additionally, when you prescribe premium lenses, you’ll be less likely to have time-wasting returns necessitating profit eroding remakes.
PATIENT AND PRACTITIONER PROGRESSIVE PERCEPTIONS
The following interesting research on the progressive lens market1,2 was recently provided by Ulli Hentschel, National Training & Development Manager for Hoya Lens Australia:
- 95% of practitioners said that becauseof high margins, progressive lenses arean important revenue generator for their business,
- At least 87% felt that personalisedprogressives help them offer tailor madesolutions, leading to higher patient satisfaction,
- On the other hand, only 7% ofparticipating consumers had heard ofpersonalised progressive lenses,
- 90% of consumers who participatedin the research became interested inpersonalised progressive lenses after a short introduction, and
- Two thirds of participants who didn’thave personalised progressive lenses werewilling to spend more to have them.
Another key finding was that the role of the practitioner is a decisive one, with 93% of respondents relying on their practitioner’s recommendation to make their decision.
The alarming fact that 7% of consumers canvassed denied any knowledge of personalised progressive lenses means practitioners are simply not doing their job properly
As Mr Hentschel stated, “If we explain to our patients more about the benefits that personalised progressive lenses can deliver, they are highly likely to take up the offer and pay a premium – resulting in happier patients with the side benefit of improved profits”.
He went on to explain that by the time you read this, Hoya will have launched its new personalised progressive lens known as Hoyalux ID Myself. Research backs up what we already know, in that common complaints surrounding progressive lens adaption include difficulty switching between viewing distances, working with computers, narrow viewing areas and image instability.3 The new Hoya design incorporates patented technologies to address these issues.
ALARMING NUMBERS = GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY
The alarming fact that 7% of consumers canvassed denied any knowledge of personalised progressive lenses means practitioners are simply not doing their job properly. It also means there’s a golden opportunity to promote personalised premium progressive lenses to the 93% of potential patients who haven’t yet heard of the benefits. That’s a nice slice of the pie that’s up for the taking. Capture these people and you’ll be earning far more revenue and potentially making many patients a whole lot happier. They, in turn, will further help grow your business with qualified referrals.
THE PREMIUM SET-UP
Premium progressive lenses usually involve significant customisation – from individual centration and heights to pantoscopic angle, wrap, vertex distance, channel depth, field of view and the like. Many of the large lens manufacturers promote so-called ‘towers’ or specialised workstations for demonstrating, measuring and setting up the lenses for individual patients, taking into consideration posture, rotation, tilt, and so on. See page 84 for more information on the currently available technology.
Beyond the setup and design features, customised premium progressives usually include top of the line multi-coats as well as easy clean surfaces, while other options such as hi-index materials, tints, photochromics and specialised filters are also available. Some of these value-added options have been featured in recent editions of milenses.
Many premium progressive lenses are obtained via special order from the overseas facilities of major multinational manufacturers.
However, some of our respected local suppliers can generate premium progressive lenses on shore in Australia. CR Surfacing is one that reported an increase in business these past months when international supply chains were challenged.
Others obtain their lenses from international partners, such as JP Optical, which sources its OptoTech-designed Max premium progressives from overseas. OptoTech is a leading German manufacturer of freeform generators and coating plants, that provides equipment and lens designs to manufacturers around the world.
We’re spoilt for choice!
Check out the following fantastic options and get your share of this potentially rewarding subset of our optical market.
- Quantitative consumer market research study about personalized progressive lenses. Germany, USA and Singapore. Harris Interactive AG 2019*
- Quantitative ECP market research study about personalized progressive lenses. Germany, USA and Singapore. Harris Interactive AG 2019*
- Survey on premium lenses. Consumer perception of premium lenses in 4 countries 2018* *Data on File Hoya Lens
Premium Progressives to Boost Vision
Intuitiv by OSA
Intuitiv progressive lenses by OSA are a step forward for the visual freedom of progressive lens wearers. Intuitiv’s ergonomic technology understands your patient’s vision by not only taking into account the preferential path used by hyperopes, emmetropes and myopes as they scan down the lens, but also the different physical and visual postures of right and left-handers. Intuitiv positions mid and near zones according to your patient’s handedness.
Using five times more calculation points across the lens surface than previous progressives, plus new aspherisation techniques to further reduce aberrations, this sophisticated design allows for wider, more stable intermediate vision – an improvement your patients will notice.
Contact: OSA Account Manager
Nikon SeeMax Ultimate
Like fingerprints, vision is unique. Thanks to Nikon’s all new Insights Technology, wearers can now co-design their progressive lenses with SeeMax Ultimate.
Every SeeMax Ultimate is tailored to their needs, preferences and viewing habits. A simple to use app makes the process of creating their own progressive a more powerful and personal experience.
Now available in 1.5, 1.6, 1.67 clear, polarised and Transitions GEN 8 Style Iconic and Style Colours, and 1.74 clear and Transitions GEN 8 Iconic.
Contact: Nikon Account Manager
Varilux X Series
Today’s presbyopes are active, connected, and constantly multitasking. Essilor’s Varilux X series is unique in extending vision for all their tasks within arm’s reach.
Varilux X series matches every wearer’s visual needs within this 70cm arm’s length zone, regardless of their posture and visual behaviour. Wearers see multiple objects clearly, along a single direction of gaze, without having to move their head. Nine out of ten say they no longer need to move their head to see sharply.*
Varilux Xtrack Fit or Xclusiv make use of Essilor’s Near Vision Behaviour to analyse multiple factors – downgaze, lateral offset, reading distance and visual behaviour – for a complete view of the wearer’s near vision posture. This ‘volume of vision’ model personalises the lens design for the individual wearer.
Contact: Essilor Account Manager
* Single-centre study – Eurosyn – France (n=42). % of wearers who need a little or no head movement to see clearly.
Opticare’s two German-designed progressive lenses – the Alpha and Beta Freeform Progressive Lenses – are designed to meet the needs of presbyopes.
The Alpha Freeform Lens has a maximum cylinder of 1.86D. It is equally balanced for distance, intermediate, and near. According to Opticare, this is best recommended to patients requiring an Rx lens for general use and for myopes.
The Beta Freeform Lens has a maximum cylinder of 1.69D. It is mainly designed for intermediate and near, although it is still excellent for distance. Opticare says this lens is best recommended for patients who need an Rx lens for computer and near, as well as for hyperopes.
Visit: www.opticare.com.au or (AUS) 1800 251 852
Because every eye is different, Rodenstock has moved away from using a ‘standard eye model’ to calculate lenses. Using measurements from the DNEye scanner, the biometrics of the whole eye are determined and this information is integrated directly into the lens. This provides people with the sharpest vision possible at any angle and in every direction of gaze, both in the lens’ peripheral zones and at distances from mid, near and far. The benefits include quick adaptation due to sharper vision, and increased visual comfort and improved contrast. Improved contrast leads to better vision in low light levels, especially for driving at dusk.
Contact: Rodenstock (AUS) 02 9748 0988
Unity Via progressive lenses by VSP Optics use the most advanced progressive lens technology to deliver exceptional vision in a lens that’s easy to fit and dispense. Featuring four lens designs, Unity Via gives your patients effortless vision from the moment they put them on. They’ll quickly adapt to the visual areas they need and transition naturally from near to far with unrivalled visual quality. Unity Via is created using intelligent technology consisting of variable inset, automatic reading height optimisation, digital viewpoint technology and advanced fit technology.
Zeiss SmartLife Progressives
In the past, Zeiss focussed on wide vision zones and accepted the higher increase of power errors in the periphery to target a ‘precise’ vision experience. Now, with Zeiss SmartLife Progressives – part of the new Zeiss SmartLife lens portfolio – the focus for design optimisation has changed to better meet the needs of today’s visual behaviour, which involves fast and frequent gaze changes.
Additionally, Luminance Design technology calculates the lens closer to natural vision by considering the agedependant pupillary diameter. Zeiss SmartLife Progressive Individual can be further optimised with IndividualFit technology, adapting to the individual preference of the wearer. The three modifications are balanced, intermediate and near.
Contact: Zeiss Account Manager
CR Surfacing Perfection Lens Series
CR Surfacing’s Perfection Lens Series is an advanced range of free form lens designs that provides an extensive portfolio of presbyopic solutions, from office-style lenses through to sports active products.
Complex calculations, combined with advanced manufacturing technologies, deliver optimum visual performance to the wearer, while pioneer smoothing algorithms ensure outstanding visual comfort and instant adaption.
The accuracy calculation allows you to offer your patients a true tailor-made experience by taking into consideration frame wrap, pantoscopic tilt, back vertex distance, and allowing for customised corridor length and inset measurements.
Contact: CR Surfacing (AUS) 03 8795 9111
Hoyalux iD Myself
Hoyalux iD Myself progressive lens design combines two new patented technologies; Adapt Ease and 3D Binocular Vision, which aim to address key problem areas consumers are still having with progressive lenses today.
Adapt Ease technology improves the near and intermediate visual width and gaze transition without influencing distance vision.
Deformation areas, mainly located next to the reading area and peripheral parts of the lens, cause significant discomfort and make day-to-day life more difficult. By adding a very low astigmatism and controlling the axis of this within the near peripheral zones, Hoya achieves a significant improvement in the width of visual fields at near and intermediate, without influencing the far vision area.
3D Binocular Vision technology helps stabilise image perception by facilitating control of the unwanted prismatic effect on the periphery of the lens. This allows progressive lens wearers to benefit from significantly reduced distortion and swaying effects along all dimensions.
With the addition of Hoya’s new Identifier, patients have a lens that is 100% personalised to their lifestyle as well as their progressive wearing history.
Contact: Hoya Account Manager
Shamir Autograph Intelligence is a multi-award-winning progressive lens product that adapts to the diverse needs of today’s presbyope.
Reinforced with 12 different additions, each individual addition has over 36,000 different inbuilt design options. With Shamir Autograph Intelligence, there is no need to pick a lifestyle option from a progressive lens family range – it automatically chooses and creates the best design, using the individual addition power. According to Shamir, wearers say the Autograph Intelligence is so comfortable that it seems like a single vision lens.
This lifestyle progressive lens can mimic human behaviour, resulting in an optimal user experience for presbyopes involved in a range of activities, thanks to three new technologies developed by Shamir and incorporated into this lens:
- Point Technology AI,
- Continuous Design Technology, and
- Visual AI Engine.
Shamir Autograph Intelligence is available to order with variable and fixed designs, including 13mm, 15mm, and 18mm fitting heights, in the full range of materials offered by Shamir.
Contact: Shamir (AUS) 1300 553 465
Younger Optics Infinity HD Progressive
The Infinity HD progressive – powered by Camber technology from Younger Optics and IOT – uses Camber lens blanks from a section of the ‘Elephant’s Trunk’ curve for a unique variable base curve front surface that continually increases in dioptre from top to bottom. This provides larger viewing areas in both the distance and near zones, along with improved cosmetics and easier adaptation.
This lens provides wearers with better peripheral vision and the benefit of superior image stability, even in dynamic conditions. Wearers enjoy maximum visual fields for all distances and slight increased magnification at near distances.
Contact: Hastings Optical Supplies (AUS) 02 6581 3759
JP Optical offers a range of progressive lenses – from its all-rounder Prime Progressive through to its fully customised Premium Progressive which has far, intermediate and near distance vision designed to meet wearer’s specific needs. Within the collection you’ll also find the Ultra Progressive for indoor activities (close distance with a large reading area), the Sport Progressive for clear, distortion free distance vision; Max Minus with wide far and intermediate areas for myopes, and Max Plus, which is designed with wide near and intermediate areas.
JP Optical lenses come with 21 Ray – a unique, patented coating that reflects approximately 50% of near-infrared light, thereby reducing its absorption by the eyeball in the wave band of 780nm to 1400nm. 21 Ray also blocks harmful blue and UV light.
Contact: JP Optical (AUS) 0414 585 487