By Preston Fassel

Does such a thing as the perfect lens exist? It’s a question that opticians have debated since the dawn of the profession. For ages, the answer has been “no.” It’s standard knowledge that different activities call for different eyewear requirements, and accordingly, different types of lenses have been dispensed for the purpose—standard lenses for leisure and home life, computer glasses for work, sun lenses for outdoors. The dawn of photochromic lenses allowed for some crossover between each of those types but still left something to be desired. Until recently, the speed at which they darkened and returned to clear often made the transition from indoors to outdoors and vice versa difficult, and various photochromic lenses only provided minimal HEV protection for workplace use. So, it seemed that the perfect lens was a thing of legend—something to be dreamed of but never achieved. Until now.

ZEISS’ PhotoFusion X photochromic lenses are on the very cutting edge of technology—lenses that provide sunglass level UV protection even when clear, in addition to providing HEV protection and possessing the fastest transition between light and dark and back again ever seen for some of the best all-purpose lenses ever made available to eyeglass wearers.

Boasting UV protection up to 400 nm, PhotoFusion X lenses get 26 percent darker than previous generations of photochromics, and they do it in record time—75 percent faster than previous PhotoFusion lenses, achieving over 70 percent absorption in as little as 15 seconds and full sunglass-level darkness in just 27 seconds. Even more impressively, the lenses address one of the chief complaints and concerns surrounding photochromic lenses—how quickly they return to clear when returning indoors. Indeed, ZEISS research determined that the speed a pair of lenses returns to clear is the most important feature for most consumers when deciding whether or not to purchase photochromics, and lenses taking too long to return to clear was cited as the number one reason for not purchasing them—even ahead of cost! Taking the issue to heart, ZEISS engineers have created a lens that puts the competition to shame, with PhotoFusion X Pro Grey returning to complete opacity 4.5 times faster than a well-known photochromic brand’s latest generation and PhotoFusion X Brown returning two times as fast. Not content to “just” offer consumers the standard grey and brown, ZEISS has also engineered an entire lineup of six color options for consumers, including classic grey, pro-grey, warm brown, pro-brown, pioneer grey-green (a G-15 style color) and vibrant blue.

Further, PhotoFusion X lenses address one of the chief eyecare concerns of the day: HEV light. As the public has become more aware of the eyecare and scientific communities’ interest in artificial blue light exposure, so too have they become concerned with taking steps to protect their eyes. This concern has translated into rapidly growing sales in lenses that protect against blue light, with Google searches for blue light glasses increasing five-fold in a two-year span, outpacing searches for photochromic lenses in 2020. In response to this growing concern and consumer need, PhotoFusion X features ZEISS BlueGuard, the base lens material, which itself blocks 40 percent of HEV light, providing wearers excellent blue light protection by blocking up to 50 percent of blue light exposure indoors and a whopping 94 percent outdoors when the lenses are fully activated. This represents 30 percent more potentially harmful indoor HEV light blocked indoors compared to a well-known photochromic brand’s latest generation. Further, the use of BlueGuard helps to increase the indoor clarity often lost in HEV lenses due to added grey-blue color additives that impact overall light transmittance—PhotoFusion X lenses have 95 percent transmittance indoors when combined with DuraVision AR coatings. The result is a lens that alleviates digital eyestrain and leaves wearers’ eyes feeling relaxed instead of fatigued and offering better rest at day’s end.

While multiple pair sales are often a goal of dispensaries, and special circumstances and individual needs should always be taken into consideration when prescribing and dispensing lenses, most consumers would love the opportunity for the one-stop-shop—a single pair of lenses that not only meets but exceeds their needs and provides them with all-day comfort regardless of the situation and without the need to swap out a second or even third pair of frames. While such a pair of glasses would have been unthinkable in the past, we’ve entered a new world of scientific possibilities thanks to PhotoFusion X. By fitting your patient in a pair of these lenses, you’ll not only improve their visual clarity but their quality of life—and who could possibly ask for more?