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Hoya adopts new approach to designing lenses

Posted by Optician on 24 September 2012 in News & Features

At the launch in Berlin earlier this month of its latest progressive lens, the Hoyalux iD LifeStyle V+ (News 14.09.12), Hoya concentrated as much on the process of design and innovation as it did on the product being unveiled. The rationale proposed was that if you understand what patients need and use a process and technology to achieve those needs the right products will flow. Under its ‘InnoVision’ philosophy, Hoya described four pillars that represent the interlinked aspects of that innovation process.

Marijn de Winter, marketing manager, said successful companies, such as Apple, didn’t ask customers what they wanted, but determined their needs. Its success wasn’t always about discovering technologies but applying them to meet needs and capture the imagination of the user.

In optics those needs were characterised within the four pillars to guide the design process, according to Hoya. Understanding the brain’s acceptance of blur and its sensitivity was deemed crucial – a topic being studied at the University of Montreal. Often blur was not perceived in vision but affected how well we see, said de Winter, adding: ‘If you can understand the way we see we are closer to the holy grail’. That, she said, was a lens that allowed us to see as well with a lens as it was possible to see without a lens.

Secondly, visual experience was being studied by Hoya through work at the University of Northwest Switzerland. This was looking into ways of reducing inaccuracies in the prescription and optimising the prescription for the patient.

The third pillar relied on patented technology to verify the suitability of the design, using a binocular eye model to tweak out inaccuracies.

Human behaviour was at the heart of the fourth pillar. By monitoring the needs and demands of the patient Hoya claimed it was possible to match the right design to them. By studying thousands of wearers, Hoya could determine how people used their eyewear.

Together this had all led to a lens, said product specialist, Petri Eskola, inspired by wearers and optimised by technology. Innovations included studying wearers’ average parameters and behaviours to create a reference power that was integrated into the design. A freeform aspherisation process and redistribution of the progressive zones across the lens meant Hoyalux iD LifeStyle V+ produced less blur for the wearer and was better suited to modern frames and wearer behaviour, said Eskola. This increased the adaptation rate to 95 per cent from an average of 80 per cent, crucial he said, as a quarter of first-time wearers and 18 per cent of long-term progressive wearers were worried about adapting to their new progressive lenses. ‘Adaptation is one of the key barriers,’ added Eskola.

Where the story of Hoyalux iD LifeStyle V+ differed from other lens launches was that it was two designs – Harmony and Clarity. Harmony was described as an all-round progressive for wearers who demanded the best vision in all situations. Its wearers were expected to be experienced progressive users or those who read a lot or spent long periods at a computer.

Clarity was characterised as a dynamic progressive lens with an emphasis on distance vision. The lens was ideal for active young presbyopes, said Hoya. Just how those messages will be communicated in practice would be up to the Hoya sales force to impart on opticians over the coming weeks.

Following its recovery from last year’s flooding in Thailand (News 14.09.12) CEO Bottero wanted to underline Hoya’s plans and intentions for the future. He said Hoya’s commitment to innovation in vision, InnoVision, could be proven by its 1,710 patents and the 4 per cent of its revenues that are spent on research and development. The growth of the independent sector depended on developing first-class products and the demand for those first-class products was growing, he said.

Hoya’s surveys showed that customers considered properties such as scratch resistance to be important (88 per cent), consumers wanted tailored lenses and AR coatings and they were prepared to pay a premium for products which had them. People were living in a world of iPads and smartphones requiring near vision at an earlier age. Hoya’s findings also showed 73 per cent of progressive wearers wanted their lifestyle taken into account when choosing a lens.

The company found that across 200,000 Hoyalux iD MyStyle consultations between 2009 and 2012, 60 per cent of patients were happy with their lenses, 30 per cent neutral and just 10 per cent unhappy. ‘We have got to find ways, as an industry, of increasing the passion people feel about their lenses,’ said Bottero. With so many wearers already pleased with their lenses that task could be a tough one. ?