BETTER VISION: What role does fashion play in progressive lenses?
Laura Rocha: The cosmetic factor is very important – not only when selecting the frame, but also in lens development. We at ZEISS always look for the perfect match between the frame, the lenses and the wearer's visual quality. That's why Precision Technology is so vital and why it is a standard feature of all new progressive lenses. This technology enables the perfect balance between the cosmetic properties of the lens and the visual quality experienced by the wearer – for all lens powers.
We enjoy a high degree of freedom in our everyday lives these days. So why should we accept compromises in our lifestyle – or in our appearance?
BETTER VISION: Many people still unfortunately shy away from buying their first pair of progressive lenses. They think they'll have problems adapting to them. What advice would you give to these people?
Laura Rocha: The new progressive lense makes this a thing of the past. Enormous progress has been made in the technologies used for the development and production of spectacle lenses. Opticians no longer need to say to their patients: "You may take a while to get used to them first." Physiological parameters and visual habits play an important role in the development of modern lenses. This makes adaptation easier and faster.
A simple example: For the very first time, a dual near vision zone has been introduced that is suitable for both analogue and digital use and offers the wearer not only comfortable vision in the near range but also enables optimal neck and back posture when using tablets, smartphones, desktop computers, etc.
BETTER VISION: Let us now come to IndividualFit™ Technology and Luminance Design™ Technology: what is the secret behind these two technologies, and why do they offer a higher level of individualisation? What type of wearer are these technologies aimed at?
Laura Rocha: The secret can be found in ourselves. That may sound very mystical, but that doesn't make it any less true. The truth of the matter is that both technologies are based on our own personal 'reality'. The Luminance Design™ Technology incorporates the actual pupil diameter of the wearer which varies from one person to another, while the IndividualFit™ Technology takes into account the wearer's vision profile and his or her main field of activity.
The design process includes the pupil diameter, or the light incident on the retina. If a single ray of light is used for this purpose, a tiny or zero diameter results. Let's go one stage further. Luminance Design™ Technology uses a mean pupil diameter of 3.3 mm or, in other words, light incident on the retina measuring 3.3 mm in diameter. This is much closer to reality, isn't it? To calculate this diameter, we use both the pupil diameter typical of the wearer's age and the lighting situation encountered at the site of his or her main activity. This results in a smooth transition from the blurred (undefined for optical reasons) zones of the progressive lens to the areas of clear vision. This means 'swim' for wearers when they move their eyes from one side of the lens to the other or when they are moving around. Last but not least: The wearer's visual performance is improved in poor light and indoors when the pupils are dilated.
BETTER VISION: It's absolutely incredible what goes into the production of a progressive lens. But why is the wearer's main field of activity so important for the production of progressive lenses?
Laura Rocha: We all have different visual needs – especially at work and in our hobbies. This is where the secret of IndividualFit™ Technology comes in. It enables the individualisation of the visual zones in line with the wearer's visual habits. One example: Identical twins have everything in common – including their DNA! Does this mean that they would need precisely the same type of progressive lenses, even if one worked as a policeman and the other as a writer? The answer is yes! With ZEISS this would be possible. Apart from the possibility of slightly different powers, the vision zones of Individual 2 lenses from ZEISS can be optimised to the different vision needs resulting from their professions. The writer's near zone would be increased by 30%, and the policeman's intermediate (or progression) zone by up to 28%. In this way, both receive the optimum progressive lens design for their daily work.
BETTER VISION: Which of the new progressive lens technologies are most interesting for you personally?
Laura Rocha: I'm really glad you've asked me that! The new Progressive Portfolio from ZEISS fulfils the requirements of all wearers. We are all unique, and each of us has their own personal requirements. That's why I can't specify one particular technology. What I would like to stress, however, is how ingenious and yet simple the new ZEISS progressive lenses really are. These lenses have been tested with real people, are easy to understand, make the optician's work easier and surpass every wearer's expectations.
BETTER VISION: Let's look ten years ahead… Will progressive lenses continue to evolve, or this the end of the line as far as production capabilities are concerned?
Laura Rocha: The end? No way! This is just the beginning of a revolution in the field of spectacle lenses. You will understand that I can't give you a preview of forthcoming innovations. After all, it's always nice to surprise people. And ZEISS will surprise everyone, I assure you.
Have I whet your appetite for more?
BETTER VISION: Definitely!
Laura Rocha: There's one more thing I'd like to say:
During the interview you asked me about the secrets behind the new progressive lens technologies from ZEISS. Thanks to the excellent global collaboration within the ZEISS development team, it will be very difficult indeed to copy the new Progressive Portfolio. This would never have been possible without the commitment and performance of all the employees from various countries who enriched the development with their ideas and experience. This was not the idea of a single department, but the result of many individual people working as a team in the company. Let me mention just a few: David Sinnott aroused our interest in the enormous potential this project offered, and it was Claude Labeeuw (USA) whose idea sparked the development of Inside Digital Technology. The marketing department has succeeded in making the portfolio clear and understandable with the aid of the icons (Abbildung Icons). The requirements and feedback of our French and Spanish colleagues later led to the development of the progressive lens app for the optician. And, of course, I would also like to mention the untiring efforts of our scientists and engineers in the technical development area. And thank you also to Manuela Weinreich who, in her role as Product Manager, merged all parts of the projects into a coherent whole and kept everything in focus at all times. This laid the perfect foundations for Christoph Winter, Anke Hensler and myself to implement the project launch country by country.