The last time we checked in with Jeff Harrell, Senior Director of Product Marketing at Essilor, was during the Essilor National Sales Meeting at the start of 2020. Needless to say, the “year of vision” we all thought 2020 was going to be has turned out quite a bit differently. One thing has been clear with the return to patient care: our patients are spending more time than ever in front of screens, and many of them in less than ideal ergonomic environments with makeshift home offices putting additional strain on their visual system. Luckily new technology entering the lens marketplace is delivering unparalleled visual performance to the next generation of progressive lens wearers.
Harrell explains that despite the closures of many offices during COVID, bringing new technology to the market was a priority for Essilor to help ECPs better serve the needs of their patients. “Essilor is about innovation, that’s what we’re known for and that’s how we can best support optometry practices in the US today,” states Harrell. “It’s part of our DNA and we have to continue to do that in good times and bad.”
The technology behind newly launched Varilux® Comfort Max lenses is rooted in extensive research of thousands of patients1 in everyday environments and the variety of distances and postures they work in throughout a normal day. The lens is designed with new Flex Optim™ Technology which provides postural flexibility for all day long vision comfort – a lens that adapts to the wearer’s unique posture and not the other way around.
The lens is also customized to deliver maximum performance for a patient’s unique prescription, with no additional measurements needed. The design of the lens for a myope versus a hyperope versus an emmetrope is innately different to account for the differing visual needs and performance issues faced by patients of different refractive errors.
“This is what you can tell your patients when they walk out of the door: these were made uniquely for you,” explains Harrell. “No two individuals are alike. That’s why it is so critical that we have done so much testing and research.” Thanks so Flex Optim Technology, Varilux Comfort Max lenses are a tailor-made solution which stretches a wearer’s useful vision zone by up to 46%2. The end result is a lens which allows the wearer to see a given focal point from 495 unique postures, providing postural flexibility for all day long vision comfort.3
How are wearers rating Varilux Comfort Max lenses? Harrell explains the impressive results of wearer studies – with current PAL wearers rating new Varilux Comfort Max lenses eight out of ten in all-around performance across vision zones4 (near, intermediate, and distance). Perhaps even more impressive, nine out of ten new wearers – patients who were previously wearing readers, bifocals, or single vision wearers – prefer Varilux Comfort Max lenses and say they’d like to keep wearing them.5
Where will this lens fit into your product offerings? Harrell explains that for patients that want the most advanced, premium progressive lens on the market, the Varilux® X Series is the product for them. However, with all of the external pressures and uncertainties that are affecting patients around the globe, it was very important for Essilor to bring a lens to market this year which has both a high level of performance and is affordable for patients at any budget. “We want as many patients as possible to see the best that they can see,” Harrell says.
Check out the podcast for a discussion of how Dr. Lyerly and Dr. Glover communicate the need for progressive lenses to their patients, and how to best explain progressive lens technology to patients so that they can understand that not all progressive lenses are created equal.
1New progressive lenses for all-day-long vision comfort, supported by a breakthrough in lens design evaluation [white paper]. https://www.pointsdevue.com/
2vs. Varilux® Comfort W2+. Average percentage gain in area considering 3 prescriptions (-4 Add 2, 0 Add 2 & +4 Add 2), 5 target distances (at 40cm, 60cm, 1m, 2m & 5m) and max visual acuity loss of 0.15 logMAR.
3Essilor R&D avatar simulations 2019. Increase in the total number of head positions vs. Varilux® W2+ lens considering a Plano Add 2prescription, 2 target objects (at 65cm, 76cm) and max binocular visual acuity loss of 0.15 logMAR. A head position is defined as a 1 degree head angle
4Wearers who answered ‘yes’ – yes/no to ‘want to continue wearing Comfort Max lens‘ – n=49/53 new PAL wearers
5Varilux® Comfort Max in-Life Consumer Study – independent third party – UK – 2019 (n=67)