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Thread: Zeiss Gradal Top vs. Varilux Panamic

  1. #1
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    Zeiss Gradal Top vs. Varilux Panamic

    I realize that everyone has they're favorite standard progressive lens, but these two seem to be at the top of everyone's lists. Come one, come all and share your experiences between these two GREAT lenses. Don't forget to say which is your favorite and why!?!

  2. #2
    Panamic= Poor Intermediate. Not a truly Short Corridor. Overpriced.

    Gradal Top= Optics Superior in all regards. Not a short corridor. Doesn't claim to be.

  3. #3
    Pomposity! Spexvet's Avatar
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    Both are very good all-purpose lenses. Varilux are much easier to sell because of the name recognition factor. I wear both, and can switch back and forth easily.
    ...Just ask me...

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    Switching

    Spexvet:
    I switch back between ST-28's, 7x28, any number of progressives in both glass and plastic without problems. What do I see best with? Glass 7x28's (20/10) Never have been able to see better than 20/20 with any plastic.
    Last edited by chip anderson; 12-03-2004 at 04:01 PM. Reason: Miss-spelled Spexvet.

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    Optical Clairvoyant OptiBoard Bronze Supporter Andrew Weiss's Avatar
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    Having worn both, and wearing Zeiss Individual also:

    Panamic: agree on intermediate problems, also I found distance power anomolies. Lens is 'way overpriced, claims to be "short corridor" but really isn't. Reading area small-ish. Only advantages I can see is it's availabe with Crizal Alize, and most people in Comforts make a smooth transition to it.

    Gradal Top: Better, more uniform optics all-around. Better intermediate, large reading area. A tiny bit of fuzz in the borders around the cross-cylindar area, but notable only in comparison to Rodenstock. All in all, far better for my purposes than the Panamic. Zeiss' Carat is fine, perhaps not quite as crystalline as Crizal.

    [Also note the Gradal Brevity, their short-corridor lens, which has a wider intermediate than the Gradal Top and eliminates the drop down to the corridor. It's my current favorite short-corridor lens.]

    And, my bid for the best, most underused lenses in the US:

    Rodenstock Life 2 and Progressive AT: Clear, undistorted distance vision, great reading vision, superior optics all around. Intermediate corridor is wider than either Panamic or Gradal. The AT in particular is a VERY reasonably-priced lens, available in 1.56 and 1.6. However, as far as I know only the Life 2 in CR39 is available with Carat; otherwise, you have to settle for Duralux.

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    In honor of drk's Avatar
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    Interested in another's opinion of Progressiv AT and Life 2. I used these about 2 yrs ago without patient adaptation problems. (Also, the Multigressiv, but it didn't seem to justify itself). The Colormatic Extra was very good, IMO. The mid-index 1.56 polymer used for the AT was great. The cost was obscenely low.

    Problem: my w/s lab had to order the AT (then the Life-C) from Rodenstock here in Cols. Oh, and it was a flawed system. If there was a problem with glazing, or there were irregularities in the molded lenses (and I caught a few that passed inspection), the whole process had to start over. They would either be here quickly, or very slowly. It wasn't consistent!

    Zeiss is "the hardcore optician's" progressive. Brevity is quite awesome. Their computer lens is somewhat cumbersome to understand. I think the Top is superb, and it's finally available with enough good materials.

    Varilux is "the average good opticians" progressive. I use this day in and day out. I do think that its acceptance rate is unsurpassed. People like this lens. Brand recognition is helpful.

    Dumb analogy: Zeiss is a set of well-fitted RGP lenses. Varilux Panamic is a year's supply of Acuvue Advance.:)

    Non-Essilor lab guys like the Zeiss. Imagine that!:)

    Bottom line: I'm only 41. Can't wait to go presbyopic to see if it passes the eye doctor beta test.:idea:

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    Sawptician PAkev's Avatar
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    We opened our shop in a small ophthalmology practice five years ago and started selling almost exclusively Varilux product. Our Essilor rep at the time informed us their co op program would make utilizing Varilux product more profitable for our practice. Non adapts were occasional and replaced without hassle. However, when we wanted to utilize our accrued co op to purchase dispensing aids two years later Essilor informed us that we didn't do enough volume to be involved in their co op program.

    So.............

    Two weeks later a Zeiss rep came through our doors and encouraged us to try their product with two complimentary vouchers. In addition we were informed of their co op opportunity (Zeiss experts program) which was far more liberal than that required by Essilor and therefore made selling their premium product more profitable. Our PAL non adaps still happen once in a while but are less frequent than when using Essilor product.

    We have a glass processing factory in our area (Schott Optical) owned by Zeiss so their name is familiar to many of our consumers. We still sell Varilux product here and there and I like the concept of the no line bifocal design which the Liberty affords.

    We recently utilized our Zeiss co op to purchase a dispensing aid (see product reviews ..... Icam) which has incresed option sales with phenonemal results.

    My .02 woth
    Kevin

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    The Man, The Myth, The Legend OptiBoard Gold Supporter Fezz's Avatar
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    I have been a strong supporter of Zeiss. I tried the Panamic when it first came out and had some adaption problems. We have very few adaption problems, and were very dissapointed in the Panamic. Plus, the extra cost? For what? So, I feel that the Zeiss Top is far superior to the Panamic. I have also been using more and more of the Shamir Genesis and Piccolo product and am very impressed. We use a lot of the Younger Image also.


    Fezz
    :cheers:

  9. #9
    In honor of drk's Avatar
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    Fezz: I've put on a pair of the Younger Image. It seems to be a favorite "inexpensive" progressive. I believe Maui Jim is using it with their new progressive Rx program.

    Problem to me is that it seems fairly high on the peripheral astigmatism. Your thoughts? Do I have "sampling error"?

    I think you definitely have "sampling error" on the Panamic. We've put through so many of those without problems that I KNOW it's an acceptable lens. Whether Top is better, or better for the money...that's the real discussion.

  10. #10
    Pomposity! Spexvet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk
    Fezz: I've put on a pair of the Younger Image. It seems to be a favorite "inexpensive" progressive. I believe Maui Jim is using it with their new progressive Rx program.

    Problem to me is that it seems fairly high on the peripheral astigmatism. Your thoughts? Do I have "sampling error"?

    I think you definitely have "sampling error" on the Panamic. We've put through so many of those without problems that I KNOW it's an acceptable lens. Whether Top is better, or better for the money...that's the real discussion.
    When I learned about the Image I thought that it would be a great lens. It was chosen the "Lens of The Year" by the OLA (I think), comes in just about every material, and has a great price. I got a pair that I wore for about two days, and never put on again. I love my Panamics, Ellipses, Tops, Summit ECPs, Comforts, and Ovations, but I couldn't take the Image.
    ...Just ask me...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spexvet
    When I learned about the Image I thought that it would be a great lens. It was chosen the "Lens of The Year" by the OLA (I think), comes in just about every material, and has a great price. I got a pair that I wore for about two days, and never put on again. I love my Panamics, Ellipses, Tops, Summit ECPs, Comforts, and Ovations, but I couldn't take the Image.
    I question the OLA awards. This years winners were not always the best in every field in my opinion (not close to for some categories).

  12. #12
    Optical Clairvoyant OptiBoard Bronze Supporter Andrew Weiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk
    Problem: my w/s lab had to order the AT (then the Life-C) from Rodenstock here in Cols. Oh, and it was a flawed system. If there was a problem with glazing, or there were irregularities in the molded lenses (and I caught a few that passed inspection), the whole process had to start over. They would either be here quickly, or very slowly. It wasn't consistent!
    Agree completely on Rodenstock's ordering and delivery dilemmas. They are a horror show, have been ever since they moved from Alpharetta GA up to Ohio. One solution: Rodenstock authorized a number of small labs to surface their products and low prices. There's one in our area (eastern MA), and they have a more consistent turn-around time than Rodenstock does. One benefit of using them is that plus lenses are actually surfaced for decent edge thickness, which is otherwise a problem with the moulded AT 68mm blank. I'd see if any labs like that are in your area.

  13. #13
    In honor of drk's Avatar
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    Andrew, thanks for the tip.
    I'm sufficiently satisfied with the competitor's brands, for now.

  14. #14
    The Man, The Myth, The Legend OptiBoard Gold Supporter Fezz's Avatar
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    DRK: The Image has worked very well for me. Maybe you did have a "sampling error",....maybe not your cup of tea. For the price though, you really can't beat it. Have you read the Dr. Sheedy report on various progressives? Very interesting! The Image, Gradal Top, Shamir Genesis all scored high, and much higher then the Panamic! Is the report valid, or a real world indication of true "best", or is it just another smokescreen, who knows? As a side not though, I just fit a patient with 9 pairs of Airwear Panamics(5 clear 4 polarized and all with Alize AR) and he truly loved them. He was a previous Comfort wearer. Good thread!


    Fezz
    :cheers:

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter karen's Avatar
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    Spex, I think it was their marketing thing about "It Fits" that won the award, not the lens design??? (could be wrong)

    Several of you have said Panamic isn't the short corridor it said it was-I have never presented it this way, my Varilux rep hasn't and it wasn't how I ever understood it to be marketed. Yes you can fit it at 18 (although unless they have a very low add/are an emerging presbyope I DO NOT recommend it to my accounts and explain it just that way) In all honesty, I don't think it is truly a fair comparison. That long drop on the Gradal makes it ideal for higher adds/older people as it gives them lots of time to get into the intermediate (ever fit it at 22-23?? it is amazing!), and the Panamic I think works better on lower segs and more "normal" Rx's, not a big amount of cyl, etc. I think the Panamic has a wide reading area (have used it very successfully on my old GP Wide accounts) and is available in just about every material. Yeah, I know BA I am sticking up for "them" but truly I have never thought of it as a short corridor so it caught my attention when several of you said that...(in fact, have always recommeded Piccolo for shorties -waiting to see how the Ellipse stacks up!)
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    Optical Clairvoyant OptiBoard Bronze Supporter Andrew Weiss's Avatar
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    Karen, no doubt the Panamic corridor starts higher than the Gradal Top. Then again, so does the corridor on the Gradal Brevity and on the Rodenstock Life 2 and AT. Have you tried any of those?

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    Master OptiBoarder Texas Ranger's Avatar
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    Interesting thread, so being a "loyal Vx " guy, I'd like to comment. The Zeiss and Rodenstock lenses are excellent designs, but we started fitting the Vx lenses in 1978, then all the new and improved designs. I suppose there is some significan differences if you don't do much volume and don't pay your statement in time for significant purchace discounts. When you do volumn and pay on time, they are quite reasonable. 90+% of our clients have been fit with either Comfort's ot Panamics for the past 10 years, most get Crizal and with the new TNG technology, many are getting the transitions. But in areas where there is lots of sun, polarized sun rxs are a big plus, and the Vx polaraized series are the best. some of the problems we saw with panamics involved rxs overplusing the adds a .25. When you fit any lens and have one non-adapt every other month, about one in 200 pair, why switch? I'm sure that if we fit everyone with a Zeiss, or a Rodenstock, we'd have decent success, but we have tremendous turnaround service on surfaced uncuts, good pricing and great customer satisfaction, what else is there?
    To be successful, you need to know what you're doing, like what you're doing and believe in what you're doing....Will Rogers

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    sub specie aeternitas Pete Hanlin's Avatar
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    Being an obvious and biased "Varilux guy," I'm not even going to try and proffer an opinion here. I do appreciate the good discussion, however, since it contains some really useful input from dispensing professionals.

    Kevin, if you have the time and inclination, I'd like to delve further into your experience with our rewards program (not necessarily to try to "switch you back"- just to better understand your impressions). Just email or call my office number sometime, if you like- I'll be happy to send you some product vouchers for your time. I have some (limited) input into our programs...

  19. #19
    Optical Clairvoyant OptiBoard Bronze Supporter Andrew Weiss's Avatar
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    I am really interested to see how we seem to break down into two groups: those of us who use one progressive, or maybe two, for everyone, and those of us who try to match progressives to Rx, patient lifestyle, etc. And each group says we have great success, very few non-adapts. Our office has maybe 1 or 2 a month on a volume of 50-60 a month average, and we fit on the "match" method using 8 to 10 different progressives on a regular basis.

    Seems to come down, again, to how well we do our jobs and how much confidence our patients have in us. Otherwise, how to explain this?

  20. #20
    In honor of drk's Avatar
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    May the Good Lord help me for posting Heresy, but I don't Rx progressives to match the patients' needs. I do think there is some validity in that approach, BUT...I have been able to have a very, very high success rate fitting every Tom, Dick, and Harriet in Panamics (Comfort before that).

    My reasoning: We, as optical professionals are either:
    1.) Nuanced in the fine art of matching designs to lifestyles
    2.) Kidding ourselves

    I regret to say that I believe it is the latter. I think we split hairs to infinity. I see it all the time, be it in progressive design, or frame inventory, or CL types.

    Not that anyone cares, but my philosophy is "go with the best" (which means your choice of the top 2-3) and "KISS". It really has worked for me.

    I love "Vision Web"'s tagline: "Streamline, simplify, succeed". That includes one progressive design for all. (Within reason, of course.)

    Flame away.

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Lee Prewitt's Avatar
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    Drk,

    No flames here. I agree with that philosophy but I will put up my Shamir products against these here. If the Genesis is not right (usually a ht issue) I have confidence the Picollo will work wonders. I also love the Office for my new "reading glasses". Great range and good primer for later progressive. I too keep it simple and have 1-2 non adapts a quarter not a month. And who can beat Shamir's co-op program? Cash to do as you please with. Just got back from an overnight office trip to Victoria, BC. Took 8 people. Thank you Shamir!! Now that's co-op!! Plug over and a very good thread.
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    Always learning OptiBoard Bronze Supporter
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    Zeiss Gradal Top vs. Varilux Panamic

    This is from my notes when I compared these lenses a couple years ago(along with others) using the same frame and Rx at 22 high -4.50 dist add 2.00.

    Top- initial comfort good, clear distance periphery, long corridor requiring chin lift to clear the text at the middle of page.

    Panamic- Initial comfort good, blurred distance periphery, short and/or quick corridor requiring little if any chin lift for the middle of page.


    Spexvet,

    I had a similar experience with the Image. The initial comfort was poor and felt like the least refined of the bunch. Maybe I got a bad lens also. Maybe it works poorly with minus Rxs. Maybe there are better choices.

    Robert

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    Optical Clairvoyant OptiBoard Bronze Supporter Andrew Weiss's Avatar
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    No flame from me either, drk. I agree it's easy to get 'way too fussy about lens technology. I've got enough geek in me to enjoy learning about new lenses and trying them out. So far, my patients haven't suffered from that, I think.

    I'm interested to see how many people on this board love Shamir. I've never used the product, and in fact I don't think any of the surfacing labs we deal with use them. What lab do you use for them, anyone? Might be interested to try it out.

    Right now, drk, if you told me I'd only be able to use one lens design for everyone, I'd probably choose Rodenstock's Life 2. And who knows, I might do just as well that way . . .

  24. #24
    sub specie aeternitas Pete Hanlin's Avatar
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    Your point is a very valid one (and not just because you happen to use Varilux product). Fact is, nearly any progressive addition lens should have very high adaptation rates- if properly fit.

    Case in point, I can (and have) fit Sola VIPs on 1,000s of patients and probably have <1% rejection rate. Years ago, Essilor Adaptar (an ancient design by modern standards) acheived 97% adaptation in a published study.

    Point being, if your argument is that you get "higher adaptation rates" with one PAL design over another, my argument is going to be that you have a problem with your fitting technique. I would also argue that your more advanced PALs are going to be more difficult to fit. Today's more modern designs go beyond simply eliminating the line and provision of intermediate vision. Now we can provide better binocular balance and peripheral smoothness as well. Now we can measure the patient's visual tendancies and custom tailor a progression to work with those tendancies.

    At the foundation of any design, however, remains the fit of the lenses. In my experience with ECPs, only about 40-50% of the PALs out there are truly being fit properly. As long as this remains the case, there will be a limit to the benefit that can be derived from advances in design.

  25. #25
    The Man, The Myth, The Legend OptiBoard Gold Supporter Fezz's Avatar
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    Pete: Could you explain to the board what " fit properly " really means? I am sure that most of us are doing it properly. What is the "official" Essilor/Varilux "proper fit"? Thanks. Great thread!

    Fezz

    :cheers:

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