Here are a few tips to help in determining which PAL design(s) to carry.
Every eyecare professional (ECP) has to decide which progressive addition lenses (PALs) to offer patients. Some offices use only one lens design but most use several to accommodate the differing needs of eyewear patients. The choices you make will have a substantial impact on the lives of your patients and the satisfaction they will derive from their lenses.

The best way to determine which PAL to use is to consider the needs of your patients. Start by listing all the features you’d like to have in a PAL. Here are a

Shamir’s Office lens features the wearer’s reading power in the lower portion and progressively delivers reduced plus power in mid and upper portions.

few you might consider: a wide and clear distance zone; a roomy corridor; a super wide reading zone; no noticeable distortion; no noticeable swim; a variable inset and vertical placement of the near zone (adjusted for the Rx and add power); multiple minimum fitting heights (variable fitting heights instead of just one); an optimized prescription that’s refined to 0.01D; having the Rx compensated for position-of-wear measurements; available in selected lens materials (like CR-39®, Trivex®, polycarbonate, 1.60, and 1.67); and offered in photochromic and polarized forms. Once you have the list, consider putting the features in order of priority so absolutely “must-have” features are at the top.

You can’t decide on the features for your “ideal” PALs if you don’t know and understand all the features that are potentially available. One good way to start is to use the “Free-Form Progressive Lens Availability Chart” developed by First Vision Media Group that can be accessed on the site This document lists all the free-form progressive lenses on the market and includes their availability information. While it only illustrates free-form PALs, it will help you decide what manufacturers you’d like to focus on for lenses that are designed, manufactured, and processed with free-form technology.

Speak with lens manufacturer and surfacing laboratory representatives knowledgeable about various lens products and ask them to explain the specific advantages of the lenses they carry. Doing online research and speaking with colleagues are two other valuable strategies for learning about which lenses have the features you want. All this research will likely make you edit your list a few times because you’ll learn about new features you now want on your “ideal lens” list.

During your research, you’re going to discover that every lens does not have all the features on your list. As you begin choosing lenses, try to find one or two perfectly ideal ones, followed by several others that don’t provide everything you want but have some unique features you feel are particularly appealing. This way, you’ll have a variety of designs to offer patients that are not all the same.

Once a few designs have been decided upon, conduct a wearer trial for each design by providing one design to about 10 patients and call them about two weeks after delivery to see how they’re doing. Try creating a simple set of questions to ask each patient so you’ll have a consistent assessment data set. If the lens passes your evaluation, add it to your army of lens products. Do this for each lens you’re considering.

Since patients may not like some designs you’re testing, get the surfacing lab or lens manufacturer to be part of the risk by helping with the lens price and/or offering an exchange lens for those patients not satisfied with a particular design. How often should you redo this research? About every two years is a good idea. Longer than that means you’ll probably miss some potential innovations lens manufacturers are offering.

TIERING GIVES ECPS GOOD, BETTER, BEST One solid sales strategy is to offer patients the best products first. Since every patient will not accept your top recommendation, you’ll need to offer choices with less features at a lesser price. This way, if a patient declines the premium recommendation, they still have options. This “good, better, best” (actually best, good, better is more accurate) gives alternatives so patients don’t leave your office for other options. Many offices use this strategy for a number of products such are anti-reflective treatments and lens materials. It works particularly well for progressive addition lenses too.

Essilor of America, Inc.’s DEFINITY FAIRWAY™ Transitions SOLFX™ lenses offer cutting-edge features to help improve vision and sharpen colors and contrast on the golf course. The exclusive fourth visual zone or the Ground View Advantage™ decreases power below the reading zone, thus controlling distortion. What results is a high-technology progressive lens design with clearer, undistorted vision when patients look down—all the way from the tee to the greens.

Two types of presbyopic patients who can benefit from short corridor progressive lenses are those who find it uncomfortable to drop their eyes a long distance and those who wear shallow B measurement frames. One lens with a short minimum fitting height (13mm) is the SOLA Compact ULTRA™ offered by Carl Zeiss Vision Inc. This means you can now fit progressive lens patients in a wider selection of frames without compromising their natural visual habits. According to the company, Compact ULTRA’s patented design and 9mm corridor provides full-power reading vision in small and ultra-small frames, smooth geometry for greater viewing comfort and easier adaptation, and carefully controlled astigmatism for ideal binocular vision.

All ECPs seek to provide their patients with the right lens product for their needs but not every ECP has a comprehensive way of determining how patients really use their eyes. Even if they do, they’d need to carry a variety of lenses to address a myriad of lifestyles. HOYA VISION CARE, North America has developed a useful way to match patients’ lifestyle needs with lenses designed and personalized especially for them, the HOYALUX® iD MyStyle™. Using an online questionnaire called the MyStyle iDentifier, the ECP completes the lifestyle form by asking the patient questions. This data along with frame parameters and position-of-wear measurements is used to customize a MyStyle lens design for the wearer.

Many ECPs feel every patient needs three pairs of glasses: a clear pair, sunwear, and lenses for the computer or other near-environment tasks. Offered as a free-form-designed and -surfaced lens, Shamir Insight, Inc.’s Office™ lens is a good example. It’s designed with the wearer’s reading power in the lower portion while progressively delivering reduced plus power in the mid and upper portions. This provides comfort in all near, intermediate, and long intermediate tasks.
PixelOptics, Inc.’s emPower! eyewear has the first electronic lenses. These composite lenses contain a thin transparent liquid crystal layer that electronically changes the near focus area of the lens when the wearer activates the lens by swiping or touching the right temple. For more information on emPower!, see “emPower!: A Paradigm Shift in Ophthalmic Optics,”.

With these tips and suggestions to aid you in your research, you can develop a list of progressives that really meet the needs and wants of your patients.
Essilor’s DEFINITY FAIRWAY Transitions SOLFX lenses help improve vision and sharpen colors and contrast on the golf course.

Randall L. Smith is the Opticianry Program Director at Baker College in Jackson, MI.

Ed De Gennaro is Director, Professional Content of First Vision Media Group.



Carl Zeiss Vision Inc.
800-358-8258 •

Essilor of America, Inc.
800-542-5668 •

877-528-1939 •

PixelOptics, Inc.
888-749-3567 •

Shamir Insight, Inc.
877-514-8330 •


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