Opti '09 Celebrates 50 Years Of Progressive Lenses

All eyes are on the lenses! At opti '09 the optics and eyewear sector is celebrating a unique occasion: the progressive lens reaches the grand old age of 50! In 1959 the Frenchman and engineer Bernard Maitenaz developed the first 'Varilux' spectacle lens which enabled its users to see well close-up and at a distance. This invention, from Essilor, is still today regarded as a quantum leap in optics. Now, fifty years later, progressive lenses are still the most modern way of correcting presbyopia. They give incomparable acuity of vision at all distances.

The latest generation of progressive lenses at opti '09

Of course progressive lenses have been through many stages of development since 1959. At this international optics and eyewear trend fair, which takes place from 23 to 25 January 2009 in Munich, leading manufacturers like Essilor, Hoya, Rodenstock and Zeiss will be showcasing their innovations and new developments in progressive lenses. The early models were relatively inflexible and there were many errors in reproduction, but the latest developments guarantee superb wearer-comfort and precision.

Custom-made progressive lenses not only correct defective vision, they also, in their design, take account of eye spacing, preferred reading distance, the way the eyes and the head of the individual move, and the size of the spectacle lens. opti '09 will provide the trade visitor with information on how the latest technologies and material can help improve user-comfort for spectacle wearers. Certainly, by the end of the three-day fair, the optics specialists attending the fair will have a clear picture of which types of progressive lenses will prove to be the most popular in the future.

Very popular at the moment are progressive lenses where the borderlines are as small as possible, to give stepless vision and to minimise any out-of-focus areas. What is also happening is that the areas for the three fields of vision are being optimised in size: the more modern the progressive lens, the larger and broader are the areas for distance and intermediate vision and for reading. The latest models also take into account the individual head and eye movements of the wearer and are thus attuned precisely to the visual patterns of the user.

At opti '09 the manufacturer Essilor, for example, will be exhibiting its 'Varilux Ipseo Neu Edition' model which won the Silmo d'or 2008. And Rodenstock will be showing, via its Impression FreeSign Generation and other products, just how much these lenses can now be adapted to suit individual parameters such as eye spacing, shape of face and fit and shape of the spectacle frames. In the manufacture of its progressive lenses Hoyalux iD MyStyle, Hoya takes into account a range of lifestyles. This spectacle lens can be adapted in terms of construction and shape to such things as whether the wearer is a keen football player, or prefers instead to sit on the couch and read.

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