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Thread: Essilor "freeform" lenses; Premium product, or just high priced?

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    Confused Essilor "freeform" lenses; Premium product, or just high priced?

    One week after receiving my new Physio Enhanced lenses with Sapphire coating, my Varilux rep stopped in and asked my opinion. I told the rep that there was a wow factor difference between regular progressives and any "freeform" lens design, but as far as a noticeable difference between one "freeform" and another; not really. So my comment to the rep was this, "If I don't see a difference in quality, why would I pay a higher price for the Essilor freeform product?" I didn't get much response, but the rep was writing it all down on paper. So here's my question for all ECP's; Do you notice a big difference in quality between one freeform and another? Is Essilor's "freeform" products worthy of the premium price they charge? I'm not trying to bash Essilor; I have a very low dist Rx, so maybe I'm not the best judge. What do you think?

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    First you need to understand the difference between freeform designs and digital processing. Valuation of a lens is much easier when you do.

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    Master OptiBoarder
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    You realize, of course that the E spin on your response will be "Freeform lenses are so superior that even eyecare professionals can't believe the difference! Order today!"

    Freeform----free from noticable differences, just put them on and wear them, no adaption required.

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    icmor, I believe the answer is Both. i noticed you referenced the Phys Enhanced as Essilor. In reality this is a premium "Varilux" product. There is a bunch of cost and value in branding to the consumer. Do you cary sell or promote any brand name frames? Etc. I suggest if you use the support and marketing Varilux offers and promote it as a/the premium brand the cost has a lot of value.
    you can certainly offer brands or products that cost less and offer comparable features at a much lower price. I believed offering both is a very good business plan.
    In the advent you don't use the Brand, Marketing and support offered then moveing to your favorite premium free-form lens that you can offer at a lower price high margin and satisfaction might be your best course of action.
    How to you market you services and products?

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    As a former wholesale lab manager, I do know all the differences in the "freeform" designs. Hence the quotes around the word, as mfg's throw the term around rather loosely. The question remains; do you visually notice a difference (better/worse) when you switch from one "freeform" progressive to another?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CuriousCat View Post
    First you need to understand the difference between freeform designs and digital processing. Valuation of a lens is much easier when you do.
    Please explain. I am sending off to Harry 6 lenses as follows:
    Shamir Autograph, Kodak Unique and the Pech Pro to see what the plots like like in basic form and in a tough rx.
    i am ordering plano +2.00 add and a +2.00 - 2.50 x 045 2.50 add to see how they compare.

    What do you think my results will yield?

    Criag

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Gold Supporter Judy Canty's Avatar
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    In a nutshell, freeform lenses are produced on a SV lens blank with both the design and the Rx created on the back surface with a cnc freeform generator. Any lens can be digitally processed. A digitally processed old design is a very accurately produced old design. A digitally processed bad design is an accurately produced bad design.

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    Quote Originally Posted by curiouscat View Post
    first you need to understand the difference between freeform designs and digital processing. Valuation of a lens is much easier when you do.
    Quote Originally Posted by icmor View Post
    as a former wholesale lab manager, i do know all the differences in the "freeform" designs. Hence the quotes around the word, as mfg's throw the term around rather loosely. The question remains; do you visually notice a difference (better/worse) when you switch from one "freeform" progressive to another?
    :hammer:

    icmor: I have FreeForm lenses from Shamir, from the German lens company and from the French "360/freeform" lens company. I wear the Shamir Auto II and keep the other ones as a just-in-case backup. Matter of fact I'm wearing the Auto II Office right now.:bbg:
    As an FYI: I'm anisometropic w/+2.00 add if that means anything.

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    I keep getting replies about the designs of the lenses, plot differences, or marketing. I'm not asking what the difference is in design plots, how they're made, or how we should market them. I know about all that. You're not answering my question. I'll try to be more specific: Do you have personal experience in wearing multiple pairs of glasses utilizing "freeform", digitally processed progressives from various lens mfgs, and do you notice a quality difference if you switch from one pair to the other? Do you find one design (brand) is superior to the others? Or are they all on the same "playing field" (This is my visual perception); equal in visual quality? If they're pretty much equal in quality (visually), why should I pay more from Company "V" than company "XYZ" for the same visual quality? My take from "cr-39" is that Shamir is noticeably (visually) better, so the other products are used for back up only; correct?

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    OptiBoard Professional RT's Avatar
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    In a nutshell, freeform lenses are produced on a SV lens blank with both the design and the Rx created on the back surface with a cnc freeform generator.
    That's not entirely true.

    There are some Free Form designs that do NOT use SV front. HOYALUX ID, for example, is produced by using Free Form techniques on both the front and the back.

    Other lenses use Free Form processing of complex atoric/aspheric surfaces to optimize the optics of a conventional progressive. That is something significantly more than just using digital CNC surface generators for greater accuracy (which have been in use since 1987 and are hardly a new phenomenon).
    RT

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    Master OptiBoarder NCspecs's Avatar
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    I may be jinxing myself but I'll say that, so far, I've had no non-adapts since I've started to use the Physio Enhanced. The Dr. I work for is pretty gung-ho on the design and so I really don't fit any of my progressive wearing pts in much else. I have noticed that my first-time wearers are adjusting better to the lenses than other pts in the past have with older designs. I'm not usually of the school of thought that "newer is better" but it seems to be working well and I'm seeing high pt satisfaction. I'm not a presbyope just yet so I can't personally comment on the design differences.

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    Quote Originally Posted by icmor View Post
    I keep getting replies about the designs of the lenses, plot differences, or marketing. I'm not asking what the difference is in design plots, how they're made, or how we should market them. I know about all that. You're not answering my question. I'll try to be more specific: Do you have personal experience in wearing multiple pairs of glasses utilizing "freeform", digitally processed progressives from various lens mfgs, and do you notice a quality difference if you switch from one pair to the other? Do you find one design (brand) is superior to the others? Or are they all on the same "playing field" (This is my visual perception); equal in visual quality? If they're pretty much equal in quality (visually), why should I pay more from Company "V" than company "XYZ" for the same visual quality? My take from "cr-39" is that Shamir is noticeably (visually) better, so the other products are used for back up only; correct?
    Word or is it church? Dang young kids and their hipster jargon.....

    You are correct; to my eyes the Shamir Auto II is noticeably better than the others hence their constant use and the back up role for the others. If you find the quality of the lenses are pretty much the same whether from company 'V' or 'XYZ', than you shouldn't pay more....unless you like to support your rep's golf game or his company's acquisition conquests. (Yes, I DID go there!)

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    We use 3 free form brands and the patients can get all 3 and have never said they can tell the difference. Any free form lens should do a good job and we have yet to see one do a great job when compared to the other brands. I use the least expensive first and have no problems with the Pech Pro as a value lens. We have done thousands of free form progressives and the only ones we had problems with were the Sola HDV and Opthonix- Are they still in business?
    Just don't do a free form lens in poly, use a clear material to maximize the benefits.
    Craig

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    MasterCrafter OptiBoarder MasterCrafter's Avatar
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    Essilor freeforms are kind of lame. They use the same blanks i surface conventionaly.

    Take for instance the Accolade freedom. I pick the blank and surface the backside on conventional surfacing equipment. When Essilor does the Accolade Freedom. They would take that same lens i use and digitize the backside. :finger:

    To me the lenses that are the best are spherical front progressives or even better yet the Hoyalux ID and Gradal individual which combines digital fronts and backs.

    Digital mold fronts =

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    Essilor's ONLY Free Form lens (currently) is the Ideal. The Enhanced and Freedom lines are merely conventional blanks run through Essilor's "special" software and surfaced on a digital generator. I could surface a VIP on our digital generator and call it a Digitally Surfaced lens.

    The best lens feedback I've seen is for the Seiko and Zeiss lenses. The Hoya lenses seem to be well liked also, but I've heard less about them. Shamir's lenses are also very good, but much more expensive.
    There are rules. Knowing those are easy. There are exceptions to the rules. Knowing those are easy. Knowing when to use them is slightly less easy. There are exceptions to the exceptions. Knowing those is a little more tricky, and know when to use those is even more so. Our industry is FULL of all of the above.

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    I have identical pairs in Shamir Auto II, Hoya Amplitude HD, and Hoya ID LIfestyle. My favorite ones are the Lifestyle out of the three because they have a much nicer intermediate and is an easily noticeable difference. Other than that, they all do well in the distance and near (+3.00 add)
    DragonlensmanWV N.A.O.L.
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    Compulsive Truthteller OptiBoard Gold Supporter Uncle Fester's Avatar
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    I'm in the Enhanced. I also have worn the Auto 2, Seiko Prefas, Comfort 360, Illumina, Sola one and a couple others.

    Enhanced and Auto have the least swim but these emmetropic eyes can adjust to any of them in a few minutes. Then again I'm not a fussy guy.

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    Everyone has different "visual sensitivity" and many can wear a variety of the PAL designs. I've fit a lot of patients with freeform and don't see the "wow" factor. They certainly don't look any better in the lensometer. It just doesn't seem that great of an improvement for the cost. Just my opinion.

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    MasterCrafter OptiBoarder MasterCrafter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcamp View Post
    Everyone has different "visual sensitivity" and many can wear a variety of the PAL designs. I've fit a lot of patients with freeform and don't see the "wow" factor. They certainly don't look any better in the lensometer. It just doesn't seem that great of an improvement for the cost. Just my opinion.
    I've seen alot of "wow" factor people. Especially with Myopic people. The Hyperops do not see as much of a "wow" factor.

    But either way digital progs are the best thing to happen to lenses in a long time, and on the plus side the cost keeps dropping :bbg:



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    That's where I'm coming from. With a low dist correction, I don't see a great difference, where as, someone with a higher script, and or high cyl, may definitely see a greater improvement from one style to another. I'm hoping some of those wearers will post their experience.

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    I got a free pair of Physio Enhanced at a seminar. They're nice but I'm not getting a wow. I like my Physio Short better. I would love to try the Hoya ID.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blinkvelo View Post
    icmor, I believe the answer is Both. i noticed you referenced the Phys Enhanced as Essilor. In reality this is a premium "Varilux" product. There is a bunch of cost and value in branding to the consumer. Do you cary sell or promote any brand name frames? Etc. I suggest if you use the support and marketing Varilux offers and promote it as a/the premium brand the cost has a lot of value.
    So you really believe that the designs for Varilux lenses are completely different than the other lenses Essilor offers? Are you saying that all the hype and POP Varilux uses makes the lens a better value? I disagree. I'd say that if I can produce the same or better result for the patient, and use a cheaper lens, then I have a very real increase in value.(not a perceived value) The rest is a warm fuzzy feeling brought on by the cheerleaders at Varilux.(who do an excellent job)

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    OptiBoard Apprentice LAGUNAEYEDESIGNER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MasterCrafter View Post
    I've seen alot of "wow" factor people. Especially with Myopic people. The Hyperops do not see as much of a "wow" factor.

    But either way digital progs are the best thing to happen to lenses in a long time, and on the plus side the cost keeps dropping :bbg:
    MasterCrafter,

    Seiko just got a new free form progressive-SURMOUNT and they claim will "WOW" hyperops. Have you tried them? Or anyone have tried Surmont (seiko lens)?
    How are they? Please share your views. Thanks.

    Laguna.

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    ATO Member HarryChiling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LAGUNAEYEDESIGNER View Post
    MasterCrafter,

    Seiko just got a new free form progressive-SURMOUNT and they claim will "WOW" hyperops. Have you tried them? Or anyone have tried Surmont (seiko lens)?
    How are they? Please share your views. Thanks.

    Laguna.
    The thickness or the lack of it is amazing, especially for hyperopes. I haven't received any feedback yet on the optics, but so far the lenses look better than anything on the market.

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    Master OptiBoarder OptiBoard Silver Supporter Jubilee's Avatar
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    Shamir more expensive?

    Hmm.. in our area the Shamir Free Forms are less expensive the Varilux, or Zeiss. The labs I am working with aren't advertising Seiko, though it the local lab putting in the FF generator might be using one of their designs for their inhouse branded FF.
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