Once again, Carl Zeiss Vision has launched an innovation in the area of customised progressive lenses. ZEISS Progressive Individual2 with EyeFit technology are the most individual progressive lenses from ZEISS ever. These spectacle lenses provide natural vision at all distances and an optimal fit like a tailor-made suit. Just what makes these lenses so special? BETTER VISION takes a look behind the scenes at ZEISS and puts this question to Product Manager Manuela Dauner.
BETTER VISION: ZEISS Progressive Individual2 with EyeFit technology progressive lenses by ZEISS represent a milestone in spectacle lens development. What exactly makes this lens more individual than its predecessors?
Manuela Dauner: For us at ZEISS, the development of ZEISS Progressive Individual2 with EyeFit technology has been very important. With Eyefit technology, we are aiming to provide wearers of progressive lenses with even greater natural visual comfort than in the past. This means that we will be catering more specifically for the personal visual distances and habits of each individual person. We have therefore developed three different progressive lens designs that are geared to the relevant vision type. Additional important side effects include that the new progressive lenses not only take the anatomy of the eyes into account but they are also thinner, more aesthetic and therefore even lighter. In addition, the customization of progressive lenses has been made even more flexible for optometrists.
BETTER VISION: Logically, the outstanding aspect of these eyeglass lenses is the new design. How do you go about developing a design like this? How do the developers know beforehand what individual glasses wearers ideally require in a progressive lens design?
Manuela Dauner: The designs are based on many years of experience in the area of progressive lens manufacturing. In the case of ZEISS, this amounts to more than 30 years. Besides research, the experiences of our customers are also important. Both internally and externally, we conduct extensive wearer tests and also work together with universities or higher education institutes. Besides this, market research also helps of course. We perform end-user surveys in order to precisely determine the needs of our consumers, as well as to gain an understanding of their experiences with eyeglass lenses.
Our surveys of glasses wearers confirmed that near vision is becoming increasingly important in modern day-to-day life, including for people who are presbyopic, so we opted to concentrate on the near and intermediate ranges of progressive lenses in particular. Nowadays, progressive lenses need to be able to achieve more than in the past. Quickly shifting the eyes' focus from a smartphone to an object in the distance and back again, or from a navigation system in the car to the road, are just two examples of challenges, particularly for presbyopic eyes.
BETTER VISION: And how did you arrive at the three different requirements profiles "Balanced“, "Intermediate“ and "Near“ for ZEISS Progressive Individual2 with EyeFit technology?
Manuela Dauner: The three profiles were the result of a requirements analysis. With the help of wearer tests based on our many years of experience with individual progressive lenses, we were able to identify three types of vision, each of which has different requirements. If we take somebody who reads a lot for instance and doesn't want to change their glasses but wishes to be able to read in comfort using their progressive lenses, such a person will require as large a near range as possible. It was precisely for this type of person that the "Near" profile was developed. For more dynamic, sporty spectacle wearers or those who do a lot of work on computers and want to avoid having an extra pair of glasses for this, we developed "Intermediate" to provide greater comfort in the intermediate range. "Balanced“ is an all-round, well-balanced design. For us it is also important to always have a large far zone for all designs however.
When selecting the progressive lens design, optometrists therefore need to know as accurately as possible the main situations in which the progressive lenses will be used and the profession or leisure activities of the relevant wearer.
To digress - why is there an out-of-focus range with progressive lenses?
Progressive lenses are subject to a special manufacturing method. When the surfaces of the lenses are ground, many types of optical lenses come together. These lenses become more and more warped towards the bottom, leading to an undefined area in the lower perimeter areas. This is similar to when, in a sand pit, you remove sand from the floor of the pit but the sand is piled up in some other area of the sand pit. In this way the perimeter area is not optically defined with progressive lenses and appears out-of-focus. Each spectacle lens manufacturer has his own design philosophy regarding how and where this zone is defined as well as the design of the transition areas. Generally speaking, the better the progressive lens is coordinated to the wearer and the more personalized it is, the smaller this optically undefined area will be.
BETTER VISION: All in all, this no doubt results in a great deal of work for the development team at Carl Zeiss Vision. How long did it take in total to develop the ZEISS Progressive Individual2 with EyeFit technology?
Manuela Dauner: It's difficult to say precisely because at ZEISS our designs and design ideas are in a constant state of development. Eyefit therefore brought together lots of new features that we had thought about and developed over a period of several months and even years and that were ultimately incorporated into a new spectacle lens.
BETTER VISION: How do you actually test spectacle lenses and progressive lens designs of this type beforehand?
All lenses are tested at Carl Zeiss Vision beforehand as a rule. This is something which is very important for us and we do this by means of intensive wearer tests. Our test persons wear, for instance, various progressive lens designs tailored to their own needs and compare them with respect to visual habits and usage situations. In addition, they document their experiences for us and answer our questions afterwards.
BETTER VISION: Is ZEISS Progressive Individual2 with EyeFit technology equally recommended for all progressive lens wearers and for which wearers is this technology particularly recommended?
Manuela Dauner: We believe ZEISS Progressive Individual2 with EyeFit technology is the best choice and should be first choice for optimal near and far vision. By taking into account the individual visual parameters of the wearer, such as eye distance, how the glasses sit and their shape, as well as individual visual habits, we are able to create a visual impression that is as natural as possible. This is a fact. Conventional progressive lenses are based on average values to cater for all wearers across the board. This can lead to compensations with respect to comfortable vision for individuals however. Compare the optimum fit of a tailor-made suit with that a simple, off-the-peg suit for example - it may be a perfect fit but generally speaking it won't be.
Another tip maybe - we know that many people shy away from changing over to progressive lenses early on. Yet investigations and studies have shown that the earlier a wearer starts, even with low-strength progressive lenses, the more easily they will get used to them than if they begin later.
BETTER VISION: Looking ahead to the future, is Eyefit technology the end of the development cycle for individual progressive lenses or does further potential for development exist?
Manuela Dauner: Based on current production methods, Eyefit is without doubt one of the best progressive lens designs on the market worldwide. However, plenty more optimization potential still exists for natural vision and it goes without saying that, at ZEISS, we are working on this all the time.