DIGITAL LENS TECHNOLOGY: A RISING STAR IN OPTOMETRY

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It’s time to educate your patients about the new world of lenses that is available to them.

 —
 Vmax Vision’s single vision lenses and
PALs (shown here) minimize a
patient’s HOAs such as spherical
aberration, trefoil, and coma.
 —
 Essilor recently launched multiple
new Varilux products utilizing digital
designs.
—
 Zeiss’ Precision portfolio of lenses
accounts for the distance and
convergence of both print and digital.
 —
 HOYA Tact computer lenses provide
either 40% or 60% of the near add in
the intermediate area.

As optometrists, we have fantastic new digital technologies and we need to make our patients more aware of their benefits. After reviewing a patient’s history, for example, I make it a point to offer some explanation about the most recent advancements in lenses.


It usually goes along the following lines: “We have new exciting lenses called digital lenses that are now available to help you see better. We’ve always known that the eye actually has thousands of different powers of focus, yet we could only put a few powers on a lens by polishing the curves onto them. Now we have computer-driven equipment that uses a diamond tool to cut many curves and many powers onto a lens to give you more natural vision. They cost more than the old Benjamin Franklin lenses but are usually well worth it. I’ll evaluate whether you can benefit from them.”

NEW LENS DESIGNS
All the optical lens manufacturers are using digital surfacing techniques to design new lenses to meet our patients’ needs, including single vision, near vision, and progressive addition lenses (PALs).


Zeiss’ i.Scription from Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc., for example, uses measurements of the patient’s higher order aberrations (HOAs) to refine the doctor’s prescription so the lenses will provide better vision at all pupil sizes. The resulting prescription is measured in .01D increments, and must be manufactured with free-form technology. i.Scription is available on all ZEISS customized lenses, including single vision and progressives.


VMax Vision has single vision lenses and PALs that minimize a patient’s HOAs such as spherical aberration, trefoil, and coma. I was fortunate enough to do some of the early research on these types of lenses and I can tell you it makes a huge difference in many patients, particularly those with poor night vision. Later this summer, Essilor of America, Inc. will launch a new range of digital single vision products called Eyezenâ„¢ lenses.


Studies show that our patients are using their eyes more for near vision tasks than distance vision tasks. This has given rise to many digital designs geared toward students, computer workers, and others who use their eyes up close most of the day. HOYA Vision Care, North America’s Sync single vision lenses have a vertical aspheric design giving an add power of 0.55D or 0.88D. Last summer, Zeiss launched Digital Lens, which provides a single-vision like distance experience with a mild boost of power for viewing smartphones and tablets. It’s available in adds of 0.50D to 1.25D. Essilor also offers an anti-fatigue digital lens that provides a 0.60D boost at near. For presbyopes who use computers all day, digital lenses include the Zeiss Officelens. It is fully customized and available in three working distance options:
•Officelens Book (very wide field of view, up to about 3 ft.)
•Officelens Desk (vision to about 7 ft., like most computer lenses)
•Officelens Room (essentially an “indoor progressive” with vision to about 14 ft.)


Essilor’s computer lens provides 60% of the near add at straight-ahead gaze, while the  HOYA Tact computer lenses offer either 40% or 60% of the near add in the intermediate area.
Perhaps the greatest area where digital lenses have been used is in PALs. Digital surfacing allows an infinite number of designs which can be utilized to minimize patient HOAs, reduce the aberrations inherent in PAL designs, allow for pantoscopic tilt, panoramic tilt, effective lens distance, aniseikonia, head movers vs. eye movers, and prolonged convergence at near tasks.
At Vision Expo East this past March, Zeiss launched its progressive Precision portfolio with Digital Inside technology. Basically, this technology adjusts the design of the reading zone to account for the distance and convergence of both print and digital. Like all ZEISS customized lenses, the Precision portfolio is available with i.Scription, which uses measurements of the patient’s HOAs to refine the doctor’s prescription so the lenses will provide better vision at all pupil sizes.


Essilor recently launched multiple new Varilux products utilizing digital designs:  Varilux Comfort’ W2+ lenses, Varilux Physio’ W3+ lenses, and Varilux S Seriesâ„¢. Basically these lenses employ designs on both the front and rear surfaces of the lens (DualOptixâ„¢) to reduce HOAs, improve binocularity to support smooth transitions between visual zones, and reduce magnification variations across the lens, which leads to the perception of swim.


At Vision Expo West 2014, I was on a panel on “What’s New in Eyecare.” In order to speak from my own familiarity about these lenses, I ordered a pair for myself with a +3.50 add wishing to experience maximum distortion. I received them one hour before the lecture and put them on. My first thought was, “They forgot to put in the add!” Then I looked at my hand 10 in. away and it was perfectly clear! Since that time I’ve spoken to several ODs who have had similar
experiences.


TREATING VISION PROBLEMS
Nearly all of our ocular pathology patients can benefit from digital lenses, which reduce HOA and image distortion. Corneal scarring, pterygium, kerataconus, post-refractive surgery, corneal degeneration, corneal dystrophies, corneal opacities, corneal edema, corneal precipitates, cataract changes, and even retinal changes like age-related macular degeneration result in HOA that can be improved with digital lenses. Patients on medications that increase pupil size, such as antihistamines, antidepressants, amphetamines, and beta-blockers can use digital lens designs to improve the image and provide comfort””particularly for near tasks. When prescribing for our ocular pathology patients, we should include digital lens designs to counteract their loss of vision.

BENEFITS
Digital surfaced lenses provide more comfort and sharper, more natural vision in many settings. They facilitate changes in focus from distance to near tasks and provide relief for working on a computer or texting on a smartphone.


Let your patients know what lenses will have the greatest benefits for their vision and the choice will be an easy one. OO

WHERE TO FIND IT:
Carl Zeiss Vision, Inc. •800-358-8258 •zeiss.com/vision-care
Essilor of America, Inc. •800-542-5668 •essilorusa.com
HOYA Vision Care, North America •877-528-1939 •hoyavision.com
Vmax Vision •321-972-1823 •vmaxvision.com


Peter G. Shaw-McMinn is assistant professor at Southern California College of Optometry and senior partner of Sun City Vision Center in California.

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