BETTER VISION: On the subject of UV light, do ZEISS self-tinting lenses really offer the same high level of UV protection as ZEISS sunglass lenses? Could I even wear them in extremely bright sunlight in the mountains, for example?
Volker Gahr: Just like our sunglass lenses, PhotoFusion lenses offer 100% UV protection* which means you can be confident of having the best possible protection. The UV filter effect of PhotoFusion is fully active even when the lenses are clear. Sunlight is particularly strong in the mountains because UV radiation becomes more and more intense the higher you go. So by choosing PhotoFusion you can be sure you're not taking any unnecessary risks. But UV protection isn't the only key to relaxed vision: you also need glare protection to deal with dazzling sunlight. That's why people who undertake more extreme activities at high altitudes could benefit from lenses designed for special applications. These might include lateral protection, a darker tint and mirror coatings if you are looking at activities such as climbing glaciers or taking long hikes through the snow. Snow reflects light like a mirror which increases the intensity even more.
BETTER VISION: Who can benefit from self-tinting lenses in your opinion?
Volker Gahr: Self-tinting lenses offer comfortable and relaxed vision. Whether you're indoors or outdoors, they make sure your vision is just right. So I would say self-tinting lenses are a great solution for anyone who spends a lot of time going in and out of buildings and who finds having to switch between two pairs of spectacles a real hassle. And obviously they are a particularly good choice for people who are sensitive to light because constantly screwing up your eyes can get very tiring and even lead to headaches in the most extreme cases.
BETTER VISION: And to wrinkles...
Volker Gahr: Perhaps. But our main focus at ZEISS is of course to achieve optimum, relaxed vision. If that also results in fewer wrinkles then that's obviously an added bonus!
BETTER VISION: How long are the molecules used in PhotoFusion capable of doing their job?
Volker Gahr: They never get tired! Their ability doesn't decrease to any noticeable degree during the lifetime of a lens. Having said that, a self-tinting lens is an "optical device" in the same category as binoculars, microscopes and camera lenses, so it does require a certain amount of care and protection. There's no doubt that a good surface finish comprising a hard lens coating with excellent anti-reflective properties will increase the life of a lens and provide added comfort.
BETTER VISION: There's a lot of discussion about wearing self-tinting lenses while driving. Are PhotoFusion lenses suitable for drivers?
Volker Gahr: You can certainly drive while wearing PhotoFusion lenses because they are designed to be an all-around solution that can tackle all your everyday visual needs. But as I mentioned before, PhotoFusion lenses react to UV light, which means they don't darken as much in the car as they do in the open air because the windscreen absorbs part of the UV light. That means you get slightly less glare protection, so for long sunny drives it might be more comfortable to wear sunglasses. Your eye care professional can tell you whether it is advisable to have an additional pair of spectacles for those kinds of situations.
BETTER VISION: Can you combine PhotoFusion with all prescriptions and ZEISS lens coatings?
Volker Gahr: It's very important to us that our customers have as much flexibility as possible when it comes to combining ZEISS products. So, in principle, PhotoFusion can be combined with everything: with all our lens types, all our different types of coating, all lens powers and all types of frame. That means that absolutely everyone can experience and benefit from the added comfort of PhotoFusion lenses.
BETTER VISION: Does PhotoFusion mark the end of the development process, or can self-tinting lenses be improved even further?
Volker Gahr: ZEISS already has over 100 years of innovation in spectacle lens development under its belt. With PhotoFusion® we have achieved a major level of expertise in the field of photochromic lenses, and that's something we obviously want to build on in the future. It's a bit like a sport in the sense that we have to pursue the goal of constantly improving our performance. Right now we're in the lead and that's where we want to stay!