Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO, joined Essilor of America nearly 10 years ago and was charged with leading the brand sales organization and creating a best-in-class professional relations team. As senior vice president, Customer Development Group, he is now responsible for leading corporate communications efforts, eyecare practitioner and sales training, and industry and professional relations organizations.

Richard Clompus, OD, FAAO: Digital technology continues to change many aspects of our lives, including hours now spent viewing small screens. New refractive technologies combined with custom lens designs permit ECPs to provide a higher level of care for patients. What are the latest optical technologies from Essilor?

Howard Purcell, OD, FAAO: In September, we launched Varilux X Series lenses. These lenses feature Xtend Technology, which allows the wearer to see multiple distances through a single point in the lens. In a world in which presbyopes must shift their focus between near and intermediate objects more than ever, those wearers will no longer have to search for “just the right spot” to see at any distance.

We also know that patients are being exposed more than ever to harmful blue light from the sun and digital devices. And, since we are living longer, the cumulative effect of harmful blue light puts us more at risk for eye disease. Over time, we have introduced several products that address this need, including Crizal UV and Crizal Prevencia.

Today, our newest Eyezen+ 0 design, along with Eyezen+ lens designs 1, 2 and 3, provide sharp, comfortable vision; reduced exposure to harmful blue light; and a complete range of accommodative relief options for every age group.

RC: Essilor acquired Vision Source, North America’s largest independent optometric service alliance, in 2015. What resources has Essilor brought to the alliance to help its members be more successful?

HP: Our partnership with Vision Source is about creating value for its members. One way we do so is by offering products and programs developed exclusively for them, as well as by providing access to Essilor’s leading product innovations.

We have also been able to deliver a series of business tools, services and products that further enhance their patients’ experiences. Examples of this include The Optical Dream and Frame Dream programs. These programs are designed to provide the practitioner with a more efficient process while focusing on key success factors that optimize sales and service.

We also heard from Vision Source members that they wanted a world-class marketing program that would define them and reinforce why a patient should choose them for their family’s eyecare. The result is the “My Vision Source Family” multimedia campaign, which includes a television commercial, radio spots, digital advertising and point-of-sale materials for members.

RC: Disruptive technology of online refraction and the sale of prescription eyewear is a concern for many ECPs. What is your advice to colleagues providing care to patients in their offices?

HP: There really is no question that technology is impacting the optical industry. Patients are more tech savvy and sophisticated, and their demands for an omnichannel offer will require practices to evolve and enhance patient engagement.

Technological advances clearly will force change in other areas as well. For example, virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing will impact our profession in the near term, each in its own way. What if we could use VR in the exam room to evaluate visual performance in a much more dynamic way? What if we could access data and research results that were published in the last 10 minutes anywhere in the world (AI)? Learning about these technologies and considering the advantages and benefits they can bring to ECPs’ practices and patients will be critical for the short- and long-term success of the industry.


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