Essilor launch Varilux Comfort Max

The new generation varifocal lens is designed to enable wearers to adopt more postures and head movements and aims to attract new presbyopes

woman reading a book
Essilor is launching a new generation of its varifocal lens, the Varilux Comfort Max, designed to offer postural flexibility to wearers and which the company hopes will attract newer presbyopes to try varifocal lenses.

The new lens, which launched on 5 October, has been designed using Essilor’s new Flex Optim technology to increase the ‘useful vision zone’ of the lens by up to 46%.

The company suggest that by doing this wearers will be able to see more naturally, without having to struggle to find the right gaze direction or posture.

The new technology also enables the wearers flexibility to adopt up to 258 more postures and head movements to see sharply, than the previous generation of the lens. This means wearers can make up to 495 different body postures when looking at a computer or desktop screen, the company suggests.

“The lens has been specifically created for people with busy lifestyles who take part in activities that result in static postures or cause prolonged strain on the eyes,” commented Tim Precious, managing director at Essilor Ltd.

“By providing a stretched useful vision zone, Varilux Comfort Max lens maximises the wearer’s postural flexibility and allows them to see sharply and more comfortably,” Mr Precious continued.

Essilor suggests that these new features could help to attract a new audience of wearers to try varifocal lenses – particularly new or emerging presbyopes.

“Essilor has responded to the current challenges faced in today’s digital environment to provide a new and reliable solution to offer to patients,” Mr Precious added. “This could help attract patients to try a varifocal lens for the first time and also helps widen the appeal of varifocal lenses to a younger audience with digital eye strain.”

The lens can be available with the latest generation of Essilor’s Transition solutions, Transition Signature Gen. Eight, along with the full suite of Transition products, and will also be available with Essilor’s newly relaunched Optifog, as well as its premium Crizal treatments.

Essilor explained the lens will include its Eye Protect Systems, blue light protective material, and introduce its ultra-high index Lineis 1.74 for the first time in the mid-tier category.

To support the launch of the new lens, the Varilux Comfort Max will be included in Essilor’s current promotions, such as the Take Two multipair that ends in November, while the company will also be launching a new promotion to support the launch.

The ‘virtual scratch card’ incentive offers optometrists a chance to win from a variety of prizes, with a code for every pair of Varilux Comfort Max purchased.

Varilux Comfort Max: inside the research and development process

Andy Hepworth, professional relations manager at Essilor, described the research and development that has gone into the Varilux Comfort Max. The work aimed to particularly ensure the lens worked for newer presbyopic patients.

Essilor designed the Varilux Comfort Max using its new Flex Optim technology, which Mr Hepworth described as “built into the design… the spine of this new version of Varilux Comfort.”

This builds from a patient’s vision profile, of which Essilor has defined and made available 15 different profiles for the lens, based on results from the company’s LiveOptics innovation processes. These profiles are categorised by addition and ametropia so wearers are associated with a profile that best matches their needs.

Starting from these profiles, the technology adjusts the lens progression curve to each prescription.

Supported by this technology, the lenses extend the ‘useful vision zone’ by up to 46% - providing wearers with a broader range of head movements.

In developing the lens, Essilor’s research and development teams created an avatar to map the design and model the conditions of vision tasks. The avatar algorithm considered the wearer’s prescription, optical equipment, focal point and also calculated postural flexibility, while taking into account visual acuity as well as gaze and postural effort.

Mr Hepworth explained, “What the research and development team were looking to do was to build some additional postural flexibility into the design, to make it easier for the wearer to – not just get used to the lens – but to also enjoy wearing the Varilux Comfort Max.”

Mr Hepworth expressed the company’s aim of encouraging eye care professionals “that they should no longer be worried about dispensing a varifocal lens in that mid-tier,” adding “Varilux Comfort Max will work for younger presbyopes.”

To determine performance of the lens within this group of patients, Essilor ran tests with first-time varifocal wearers, finding that 83% reported they became used to the lens “without thinking about it,” while 89% experienced sharp vision all day.

In another study of existing varifocal wearers, the Varilux Comfort Max received an overall performance rating of 8.7 out of 10.

For intermediate vision, wearers rated the lens as 8.3 out of 10, while distance vision and near vision each received ratings of 8.8/10 and 8.5/10 respectively.

Enhancing patient communication

To support the launch of the new lens, Essilor has created a range of resources for eye care professionals, including presentations, product brochures and a white paper.

The company has also produced a new communication guide, developed with a health psychologist within the optics sector.

The guide aims to help “remove barriers preventing optometrists from recommending varifocal lenses to new and emerging presbyopes,” explained Aude Bouillet, product and services project manager at Essilor, and to facilitate “better, positive conversations” with these patients.

Ms Bouillet said: “The guide covers suggestions of new ways of communicating, and specifically to emerging presbyopes, as we know these conversations can be a little bit tricky when the patient comes in and is told for the first time that they have got to wear varifocals.”

Materials created for eye care professionals also include a new social media calendar – a recent initiative introduced by Essilor – that provides ideas for social media posts and visuals that optometrists could post throughout October.