In the Vision Care Technology arena, innovative introductions took center stage at Vision Expo West.
Continuing its move toward launching 3D-printed specialty lenses for functional usage by end users, Luxexcel of Belgium announced that it is partnering with IFB of Winston-Salem, NC, as the first optical lab in the world to employ the technology that creates a lens using a billion droplets of precisely placed polymer.
Announcing its UItimate Lens Package (ULP), which combines a number of new lens technologies, Essilor of America debuted a new television commercial with a launch party and toast at the company booth. Essilor’s ULP combines three new products (Varilux X Series, Crizal Sapphire 360° UV and Eyezen+ 0 lenses) with Transitions Signature VII.
In addition, Essilor subsidiary, X-Cel Optical Co. announced the launch of Tribrid lenses, developed by PPG’s optical products business and combining the proven elements of Trivex lens material’s chemistry with traditional high-index technology.
To show its appreciation while also calling attention to its DriveSafe lens (see page 55), Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc. held a special event at Dream Racing at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where customers were invited to the “ZEISS winner’s circle” to drive around a racetrack (or be driven) in some high-powered performance vehicles such as Lamborghinis, Porsches and Maseratis.
At the Luxottica booth, where orders are no longer written during the show, the company focused on lens technologies from two of its iconic brands, Ray Ban and Oakley. Ray Ban now offers its lenses Rxed. Also on display was its Prizm light management technology, featuring a wide selection of lens options ranging from standard colors to performance tints and changeable photochromics, each created for specific sports and activities.
Wavelength-filtering high performance Oakley sunwear were also demonstrated at the Luxottica booth using technology that illustrated which specific portions of the spectrum various lenses could filter.
Signet Armorlite had a Kodak Total Blue demonstrator onsite to show its blue light lens and to test visitors’ own glasses.
At a press conference, Mark Becker, VP marketing of Shamir, announced the company’s transition to 100% free-form and the availability of its Blue Zero blue light filtering lens in Trivex and polycarbonate.
A lens designed to alleviate symptoms associated with prolonged digital device use, neurolens, made its debut with live demonstrations at the company’s booth and a launch event at Top Golf. Other lenses on display were the VSP Unity Via, first introduced at Vision Expo East, and the Neochromes Dynamic photochromic lenses from IOT.
The PogoCam from PogoTec was officially launched for distribution with Apple-esque packaging. The mini-camera that attaches to eyewear temples is capable of taking 100 pictures and six 30-second videos with one charge and features a smartcase with an internal battery and chip that enables the device to be recharged three times and take 16,000 pictures and 90 minutes of video. ECPs who sign up to sell the device receive their own camera.
MEI introduced two new machines, the EZFit TBA with stacker and the Shaper Finder EVO. Now, with an attached stacker and destacker, the EZFit TBA edger (for which the TBA stands for “throw the block away”) is fully automated. The Shape Finder EVO scanner combines a camera, computer and barcode reader all in one device.
New at the Coburn Technologies booth was the Excelon HPE-410, which has a stronger wheel for longer durability and eliminates slippage due to a new adaptive lens chuck, position sensor and hydrophobic mode. Also on display was Duality, Coburn’s new all-in-one lens de-taper and cleaner.
VISION COUNCIL DIVISIONS
Meetings sponsored by The Vision Council during Vision Expo West included the Lens Division and Lab Division meetings, which included a number of announcements pertaining to the Vision Care Technology segment of the optical industry.
Announcements made during the Lens Division meeting included: A new ISO standard has been published, and, following a campaign by The Vision Council, lenses, which are considered a Class 1 medical device, have been exempted from UDI compliance.
PPG’s Keith Cross was named chair of the Lens Division (succeeding Carl Zeiss Vision’s Karen Roberts), and candidates are being considered for the vice chair position being vacated.
During The Vision Council’s Lab Division meeting, Lab Division liaison Steve Sutherlin announced that the Electronic Progressive Identifier Catalog (EPIC) will be available shortly, only in electronic format, replacing the current print version that is two years old and “pretty stale,” he said. “We can’t print catalogs as fast as lens manufacturers release new lenses.” EPIC is expected to be released in electronic format by the end of October.
The Lab Division also updated its “Clear Choices” brochure which is meant for distribution to patients in ECP offices. The consumer-focused brochure features a lifestyle questionnaire and presents information about lens design, materials and treatment options in easy-to-understand terminology. Sutherlin said, “We have to get patients to ask the ECP because it’s really hard to get the ECP to tell the patient.”