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Thread: Varilux Panamic versus Zeiss Gradal?

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    Varilux Panamic versus Zeiss Gradal?

    I'm 62 years old and have been successfully wearing progressive lenses for about 20 years. My previous lenses were Zeiss Gradals which worked great. I have moved to a new city were Zeiss lenses are routinely sold, so my new optician dispensed Varilux Panamic lenses to fill a recent prescription. I am VERY unhappy with the narrow field of view for distant objects provided by these new glasses. I asked the optician to double check if these lenses are actually panamic's since the range of view surely doesn't seem like it. He said they are panamic's and he double-checked the fitting. My old Zeiss Gradals were much wider in their usable field of view. Do the Varilux Panamic's generally have a smaller range of view than the Zeiss Gradals? My old Ziess lenses were fine in that regard. Myprescription had changed a bit and that was my only reason for getting new glasses. I am also wondering if I would have a wider field of view if I had gotten the Varilux Panamic Ipseo or the Zeiss Individual lenses? I can not keep what I have now. They are far too narrow and the worst progressives I've ever worn. I still wonder if they are really panamic's. I checked the lens markings and the <e> airmark is there to indicate that they are Varilux lenses but I can't see anything indicating they are panamics. Should this be marked on the lens. Sorry I do not know my prescription. I'm also thinking about getting rid of the new Varilux lenses and ordering Zeiss Gradals. Any and all suggestions/comments welcome. If it makes any difference, I live in Newfoundland, Canada. TIA

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    Carl Zeiss Vision OptiBoard Gold Supporter Darryl Meister's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, very few progressive lenses on the market offer the kind of distance performance that Zeiss Gradal Top delivers, since this was a major priority of the Zeiss lens designers. If you cannot find a Zeiss dispenser, SOLA's Percepta also offers an exceptional distance zone and would probably be the closest alternative optically. Otherwise, AO b'Active, Essilor Ovation (from the makers of the Varilux design), and Vision-Ease Outlook are other progressive lens designs that offer above average distance zones in typical Add powers (e.g., +2.00 Adds). Further, keep in mind that an increase in Add power may also result in some loss in the width of the clear viewing zones.
    Darryl J. Meister, ABOM

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    Keep on truckin... Cherry Optical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mardon
    my new optician dispensed Varilux Panamic lenses to fill a recent prescription. I am VERY unhappy with the narrow field of view for distant objects provided by these new glasses.

    I am also wondering if I would have a wider field of view if I had gotten the Varilux Panamic Ipseo or the Zeiss Individual lenses? I can not keep what I have now. They are far too narrow and the worst progressives I've ever worn. I still wonder if they are really panamic's. I checked the lens markings and the <e> airmark is there to indicate that they are Varilux lenses but I can't see anything indicating they are panamics.
    Tia,

    I believe Essilor agrees with you as the new Varilux Physio lens is to be used to replace all current Panamic wearers. Amazing how some things change...... Anyway... The Panamic may go by the wayside very soon.

    As far as if the Ipseo or Gradal Individual would be better... The answer is: YES

    Adam

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherry Optical
    Tia,

    I believe Essilor agrees with you as the new Varilux Physio lens is to be used to replace all current Panamic wearers. Amazing how some things change...... Anyway... The Panamic may go by the wayside very soon.

    As far as if the Ipseo or Gradal Individual would be better... The answer is: YES

    Adam
    Thanks for the feedback. It's very interesting to hear that the Physio is going to replace the Panamic lens. My optician was talking about the Panamic being the "latest and greatest." As you say, "Amazing how things change...".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Darryl Meister
    ...very few progressive lenses on the market offer the kind of distance performance that Zeiss Gradal Top delivers...
    Thanks for the information! Can you clarify for me if there is a difference between the "Zeiss Gradal" and the "Zeiss Gradal Top"? If so, what is the difference and which is better? TIA

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    Carl Zeiss Vision OptiBoard Gold Supporter Darryl Meister's Avatar
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    The full name of Zeiss's traditional, general-purpose progressive lens is Zeiss Gradal Top. Zeiss Gradal Individual is the fully customized or "free-form" version of this product, which is optimized specifically for your prescription, frame, and fitting measurements using special equipment. Zeiss also makes a lens design with a shorter corridor length that works better in small frames known as Zeiss Gradal Brevity. You can find out more information at Zeiss.com.
    Darryl J. Meister, ABOM

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    Keep on truckin... Cherry Optical's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mardon
    Thanks for the feedback. It's very interesting to hear that the Physio is going to replace the Panamic lens. My optician was talking about the Panamic being the "latest and greatest." As you say, "Amazing how things change...".
    I believe the best way to describe the Panamic is:

    "The Panamic was supposed to be the latest and greatest"

    Isn't amazing how the tech guys, marketing guys, and finally the consumer do not always agree. I don't wear a progressive lens so I can not tell you my personal opinion of any of the lenses. I believe the problem with the Panamic was that it aparently was not substantially better than the Varilux Comfort.

    Adam

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    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Gradal = Gradal Top.

    Panamic's thing was to reduce the amount of peripheral astigmatism, and it achieved that nicely. It's an "active" type of lens.

    Gradal's thing is this: excellent distance area, excellent intermediate area. The near area is average. The astigmatism amount is average. It requires a substantial fitting height to work properly. It's a "vision" type lens. Go back to it.

    Individualized progressives may be helpful or not, depending on your prescription and interpupillary distance. I'd forgo that for now, since you've already got problems on your hands.

    Ask your optician to remake to Gradal.

    I use Panamic and Gradal, and they are polar opposite lenses.

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    I'm very appreciative of all the helpful feedback that I've received in response to my original post. I have a final question.

    Today, at the request of the optician who dispensed the Varilux Panamic's, I went back to the optometrist and he did a recheck of my prescription. He confirmed that today's test matched the one done a week ago. I also got a copy of the prescription and I've put a copy here (without the optometrist's name of course): http://www.JustUs.ca/eyeglasses.htm

    I also returned the Varilux Panamic glasses to the dispensing optician. This optician cannot supply Zeiss lenses, so they refunded my money. I then found another optician that says they can get Zeiss lenses on special order. Based upon feedback received here, and my own previously favorable experience with Zeiss, I'm now thinking I will order Zeiss Gradal Top for general use and Zeiss Gradal RD lenses for computer work. Since the optician I've found does not normally deal in Zeiss lenses (there are none locally that do), is there anything special that I need to be aware of? For example, he is recommending against getting either pair of the Zeiss lenses coated. He says that they will get dirty too quickly. Is this true for Zeiss coatings? Do you agree I sholud not get the coatings? I have always used single sight lenses for computer work but since getting dual 23" monitors, I find the single-sight glasses not that good. They do not allow me to focus on both the far edges of my monitors and the near edges without moving my head to do so. Will the Zeiss Gradal RD lens solve this problem? With these dual monitors, I need an in-focus working range from 22" to about 34". Will the RD progressives meet my need?

    BTW I'm not getting the Zeiss Gradual Individual since no one here (Newfoundland) has the equipment to fit them. It seems that I'm probably fortunate to have found someone willing to special order the Zeiss Gradal Top. If I could get the Gradal Individual lens would.

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    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Zeiss Coatings are great. They're especially useful for the computer pair, but good for your general purpose pair if you're reasonable about maintenance. If you can afford the Carat Advantage brand Zeiss AR coating, you will get a world-class AR.

    I'm not sure about what you mean by "near edge" and "far edge" of your screens. Do you mean they tilt away from you? If so, yes, the RD is good. But you will still need to turn your head left and right.

    With your Rx, the Individual would not give you a distinct advantage over the Top, IMO.

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    Thanks, DRK, for the 'heads up' on the "Carat Advantage" brand AR coating. If it's as good as you say, I think I'll try it on both the Gradal Top and the Gradal RD. As for the dual monitor, I've put a rough sketch at www.JustUs.ca/eyeglasses.htm#dual (As they say... a picture vs.a 1,00 words. :) )

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    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Ah, you mean you need different powers to see the center and periphery of your vast computer screen complex! Nice post.

    Diopters needed to see the center: +2.00. Diopters to see the periphery: +1.25.

    I've never had one of these, and I know those two-screen setups are becoming more prevalent, so it's a good learning experience, here.

    With a variable-focus lens, like the Gradal RD, you will have to make two simultaneous head movements when going from center to periphery: a head turn to position the center of the lens, and a head depression to look through the lower-power (farther out) section of the lens. That may be a little difficult, but I don't know if that's worse than the alternative.

    The alternative would be to increase your working distance to, say, 26" (66cm), which would require a +1.50 add to the center and a +1.00 add to the periphery, then splitting the difference with a single-vision computer lens, say +1.25 add. That way, though you'd have to sit back farther, and though there would be 0.25D blur on the center and the edge, there would be no major head movement. You would be able to opt for a flat-top bifocal fit low, too, if you wanted a near reading portion.

    It's one of those things where it may be good to try the more sophisticated (expensive) option first, and then if it fails, the dispenser should be willing to remake to the lesser expensive option at little/no charge. Maybe hold off on the expensive coating until the base lens is determined?

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    Master OptiBoarder QDO1's Avatar
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    ive dealt with a lot of multi screen setups - from both points of view - installing them, and dispensing for them. Patients are a lot more comfy if the monitoirs are on a arc, I.E. not fitted flat. I recommend the placement of the monitors needs to be addressed
    Us opticians can have strokes of brilliance, but you need to help us a little too, so look at the set up.

    My opinion on lenses is: one for work, one for everywhere else. a occupational progressive will be so much more user friendly in this environment. a regular pair - for everywhere else. You will be a happy bunny then
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    Master OptiBoarder QDO1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mardon
    Thanks for the feedback. It's very interesting to hear that the Physio is going to replace the Panamic lens. My optician was talking about the Panamic being the "latest and greatest." As you say, "Amazing how things change...".
    dont hold your breath. I was told the panamic would repalce the comfort... like 5 years ago
    Richard King
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    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Good show, QDO1!

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    Always learning OptiBoard Bronze Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by drk
    Diopters needed to see the center: +2.00. Diopters to see the periphery: +1.25.
    The depth of focus is probably about .50 so this might not be an issue, especially if the monitors can be turned slightly towards the wearer as suggested by QD01.

    I would consider Using a non-proprietary "office lens" for the computer glasses, using the Zeiss Gradal Top for both pair. If the add power needs to be .75 (see below) then sub the Shamir Genesis for the Gradal top.

    The Zeiss Individual does not require special equipment to fit as long as the panto, reading distance, and vertex distance is typical. The Zeiss line of lenses should be readily available to any independent dostor or optician.

    Anyone think it's unusual to see a +2.00 add for a someone age 62? How about the second Rx that has a +1.00 add for a total add of +2.25? I think a wise optician might set up some reading cards at the posters work distance and trial frame it to be sure.

    My two cents.
    Robert Martellaro
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    I thought I wouldn't have to ask any more questions but I now need to ask a pricing question.

    Based upon the feedback in this thread, and my own experience with Zeiss, I have now made a definite decision to buy two pairs of glasses. A pair of Zeiss Gradal Tops for general use and a pair of Zeiss Gradal RDs for computer work. I'm going to order both pairs with the Zeiss Carat Advantage AR coating and I will be using my own frames.

    I went looking for quotes today and the following is what I was quoted. I live in Newfoundland, Canada, but after I saw the enormous divergence in quoted prices here, I decided to ask for a quote from my former optician in Ontario (where I used to live.)

    All $s are in Canadian; $1,000 Canadian = $867 US. There is no tax on glasses here.

    Newfoundland Optician #1 $1,680 (no split provided)
    Newfoundland Optician #2 $1,295 (no split provided)
    Newfoundland Optician #3 $954 ($620 + $440)
    Newfoundland Optician #4 $920 ($550 + $370)
    My previous Ontario Optician #1 $659 ($351 + $293 + $15 Shipping)

    I also learned that all the Newfoundland Opticians buy their Zeiss lenses through the same 'middleman': Eastern Optical Ltd., in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The Ontario optician buys directly from Zeiss.

    Needless to say, I was flabbergasted that the high quote exceeds the low quote by over 250%! My Ontario optician says that they have my dp measurement on file but they will need my seg height, since I no longer have the frames that they last prescribed. I am going to ask an optician here in Newfoundland tomorrow, hoping that they will be willing to measure the seg height of my current frames. Perhaps they will be nice enough to do it, given the big difference in pricing. If no one will to it, then the Ontario optician said that I can try having my wife measure the seg height before I send them my frames. It's not ideal but the difference in price is over $260, compared to the cheapest Newfoundland option.

    As professionals, what is your reaction to all this? As a lay person, it seems almost unbelievable to me that price quotes can vary this much.

    Finally, a comment for "QDO1" and "drk". My 23" LCD monitors run at their native resolution of 1920x1200 (that is, 3840x1200 pixels of working space). Given this resolution, I can't really move my working distance back too much further. Even with good glasses, things are pretty small. (I do use large fonts.) I also have my monitors angled into a slight arc and I have angled them some more after reading QDO1's suggestion. I don't like doing that too much because the face of the monitors are not vertical. They are tilted back slightly to be perpendicular with my face (maybe I should raise them?) Anyway, given this tilt from vertical, moving them into an arc, then opens a V-shaped space between the two monitors. They are touching at the bottom but a couple of inches apart at the top. I find this a bit annoying, so I minimize this by not making the arc too big.

    For drk, if you ever used dual monitors, you'd never go back to a single one. There are just so many advantages that one never thinks about until you start using this kind of setup.

    Finally, QDO1 spoke of "occupational progressives". Wrong term! I'm retired. I prefer "hobby progressives". Are you OK with that? :) Also, you said that I will be a "happy bunny" with these glasses. Maybe you and drk ought to switch avatars. Check his out in light of your comment about the bunny. :)

    I was just ready to post this when I read Robert's recent post. I'm now puzzled with his comment regarding a "+2.00 add for someone age 62". I think that I may pretend I didn't see that comment. :) Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the feedback very much but I don't want to confuse myself to the point where I never order my new glasses! :)

    Thanks again to everyone!


  18. #18
    Master OptiBoarder QDO1's Avatar
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    there is a massive difference between a Occupational progressive and a regular one. We call them occupational progressives because 95 times out of 100 that is where they are used.

    Occupational progressives have intermediate vision in thier straight forward gaze, regular ones have distance vision in the straight forward gaze. Occupational progressives also have a much wider channel of near/intermediate vision, and generally very little distance vision. I dispense what we call occupational progressives to all sorts of people, ranging from screen users, to artists

    I recommend this type of lens because i recognise that whilst a user of a VDU is infront of a VDU screen, he/she is wanting to look straight forward and focus on a relativly wide are of the visual field, at a working distance of 30-50 cm, and occasionally read a document... this is in utter contrast to the same user driving a car (for example), where the stright forward gaze definatally ought to be distance vision, and the requirement for near vision is very reduced. this duplicity in needs, sometimes requires multiple dispensings for the same prescription
    This is an international Optical message board, so dont be surprised if the terms we all use vary a little

    As for pricing, in the UK, occupational lenses are relativly cheap. Zeiss is expensive (but an excelent prioduct)
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    hey drk I got a question for ya. You say that the panamic and zeiss gradal are 2 polar opposites progressives. Could you go a little more in depth with that observation and how you came up with that conclusion. Thanks!

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    Master OptiBoarder QDO1's Avatar
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    The Panamic has a much-reduced intermediate zone in comparison to the Gradal Top, which is one of the best (regular PPL) lenses on the market for intermediate


    The Gradal Top has a few more millimetres of distance vision before the ADD starts to take effect (vertically)


    The Panamic has a slightly wider near zone


    The Gradal Top has a lot of unwanted astigmatism, whereas the Panamic has less, being one of the better lenses in the market in this respect
    Richard King
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    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    Exactly as QDO1 said.

    The Panamic is a low astigmatism lens, designed to have less swim, and "feel like a single vision lens". They've achieved that, and really, I've used this lens almost exclusively for the past three years. The downside is that the zones are not especially wide, and you get the occasional complaint of peripheral distance blur, or having to turn their head to find the near zone. Not often, though. Plus, this lens does well in the 18 mm fitting height situation, which is so prevalent in my office.

    The Gradal was apparently designed to have a wide, unobstructed distance portion, and since it has a long corridor, it has a relatively huge amount of intermediate vision, with a decent near. It will take 20 mm to get this lens to work correctly. And the other price to pay is increased astigmatism in the periphery, making it more swimmy. But the vision is quite clear, and wide.

    So, one minimized swim, and one maximized vision. Both are good for the right patient, and are sort of the best of the class, in their approach. (Discounting the relatively obscure Definity, and, of course, the newer individualized progressives.)

    Of course, this is almost moot, now, with new lenses popping up annually. I've heard Zeiss is coming out with a new lens, soon. We know Varilux is up to something in 2006.

    Thank you to Jim Sheedy for doing the research. He will need to do annual updates, or we're in the dark, again.

  22. #22
    What's up? drk's Avatar
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    To Mardon:

    You've now reached the point in our discussion where professional preference is taking over. You have the basics.

    Robert's point on your add power is parenthetical, and he doesn't mean to question your Rx.

    When it comes to variability of retail price, I find that dismaying, too. Don't do stuff via long distance, and I wouldn't ask someone to measure a fitting height for free (bad form). I'd go with the optician who you feel offers the best combination of competence and cost.

    It would be good to know, however, if the Zeiss is especially expensive, or all lenses are expensive in your market. Maybe you should ask that question. There are other lenses that would fit the bill, if you're paying premium for the Zeiss product.

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    [QUOTE=QDO1]The Panamic has a much-reduced intermediate zone in comparison to the Gradal Top, which is one of the best (regular PPL) lenses on the market for intermediate [\quote]

    Can you tell me the fitting height requirement for Zeiss Gradal Top?

    Quote Originally Posted by QDO1
    The Gradal Top has a few more millimetres of distance vision before the ADD starts to take effect (vertically)


    Quote Originally Posted by QDO1
    The Panamic has a slightly wider near zone


    Quote Originally Posted by QDO1
    The Gradal Top has a lot of unwanted astigmatism, whereas the Panamic has less, being one of the better lenses in the market in this respect
    Can you explain what you meant by "The Gradal Top has a lot of unwanted astigmatism".

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    Master OptiBoarder QDO1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy
    Can you explain what you meant by "The Gradal Top has a lot of unwanted astigmatism".
    This is a very hard issue to explain to a non optical person, I will try

    hypothetically consider your reading addition to be a separate lens “ADDED” onto the front of your distance lens. We are hypothetically (for visualisation reasons) going to compare this new ADDED lens to a sand castle on a flat beach.

    The reading addition for a bifocal is like a sand castle with perfectly flat and vertical edges, the size of the flat portion of the top of the sandcastle corresponds to the size of the reading area in the bifocal, the height of the sandcastle relates to the power of the reading addition

    A progressive design lens is exactly the same, except the sand castle has ramped sides instead of a vertical side, and that ramping (or blending) is what we optically call unwanted astigmatisim. The shape / curve / form / contour of the ramp can be designed. Lens designers basically make a wedge shaped sandcastle with a long flat road going up to a plateau – the height of the plateau is effectivly the the reading addition, the size of the flat bit on top of the sand castle relates to the size of the reading area, the width of the flat part of the road leading up to the plateau relates to the width of the intermediate part of the lens, the length of the road relates to the progression length

    Back to unwanted astigmatisim. The unwanted astigmatisim is where (in the sand castle senario) the sand blends down to the flat beach, from the flat areas, this “blended” part of the lens can be un-usable, or “swimmy” different manufacturers can control how the lens is blended quick/slow, and control the placment of it, that in essence is how progressive lenses are designed, where as the flat parts of the lens are useful and have clear vision. We have to ramp the sides back down to flat (or there would be a fold line on the lens), the different manufacturers have diferent philosophies on how to do that


    there you go, holidays and optics all in one
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    Carl Zeiss Vision OptiBoard Gold Supporter Darryl Meister's Avatar
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    To clarify a few points -- though DRK and QDO have done a rather nice job of summarizing the main performance differences -- Gradal Top doesn't really have "a lot" of astigmatism. While it has slightly higher levels of astigmatism than Panamic (for a typical +2.00 Add), it actually has "lower than average" levels of astigmatism -- including lower levels than designs like Varilux Comfort. Further, Gradal Top has less astigmatism in the distance periphery than either of the Varilux designs -- offering one of the largest distance zones available (in addition to more intermediate utility than many progressive lenses).

    Gradal Top has a minimum fitting height of 18 mm.
    Darryl J. Meister, ABOM

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