Vendor: JOHNSON & JOHNSON
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Reviewer: Kevin Treat (PAkev)
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As both consumers and retailers we are often influenced by product hype and advertising. Discerning between something that is just sponging from profit margins or does indeed offer a legitimate benefit is often the biggest vice of our decision to use a new product. However, while we may be waiting to evaluate market reaction to these products, it can be very easy to loose pace with new technology and prevailing industry demands turning your "Status Quo" into "Status Low".
This review addresses one of the latest buzz words flying around the optical industry, "Free Form Technology" Unlike conventional PAL's originating from an inventory of specific pre manufactured stock lens blanks, new free form technology enables patients to now recognize super premium lenses that are truly customized for their specific prescription demands and frame choice. Although there are already a few players in this arena, a name that first comes to the mind of many is Johnson and Johnson's DEFINITY progressive lenses.
My first reaction was of usual indifference every time I learn of a new PAL claiming to have superior design features. After meeting a J&J sales rep, understanding their claim of superiority, and recognizing the higher price compared to conventional premium PAL lenses, I was first hesitant to using the new J&J DEFINITY product. However, the tide soon changed as patients began asking if we carried the new PAL lenses which they have seen advertised on TV. In my opinion, any advertising our vendors do to end user consumers, the more perceived value a product carries to influence their buying behavior and ultimately enables us to concentrate on features which the product affords instead of price. Like most other PAL's, the prevailing attention is given to how J&J has developed the DEFINITY"S reading zone. Although many PAL's have proprietary designs with wider reading zones, J&J's dual surface add design has made their technology easiest to explain to patients which also justifies the patients addional investment at the same time. In the past six months I have had the opportunity to fit several patients with their first pair of DEFINITY lenses without having any non adapts. These results have given me an optimistic outlook for super premium lens styles using free form technology.
The major disappointment I have had with J&J is the fact that their product is exclusively distributed and can not be obtained through laboratories which we already have established relationships with. Their claim of turn around time is 3 to 5 days, however I have found 7 to 10 days to be more realistic. Those retailers also recognizing the benefits of buying groups will be disappointed to find they will have one extra bill to pay by using J&J products. As more manufacturers introduce free form technology, I believe J&J will have to revisit this policy in order to remain competitive.
One of our biggest challenges has been in classifying free form technology PAL's. Since most major PAL manufacturers already have their version of a premium PAL design we decided to put it on a different playing field. While we still expect to sell many premium PAL lenses we don't want folks thinking we are selling inferior quality eyewear by making DEFINITY our premium choice and giving the impression of everything else as being substandard. We therefore have classified our DEFINITY as a "Super Premium" lens design which the patient construes as the latest and greatest. Overall, I think J&J has brought something to the table by offering a new standard in super premium PAL lens design and from my personal experience give it a thumbs up.
Would you purchase this product or other products from this company based on your experience with this product?