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Celebrating 60 years of varilux

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This year, we celebrate 60 years since the Varilux lens was invented and the varifocal lens was born. Find out about the innovative story behind the revolutionary lens below.

It was back in 1948 when a young man called Bernard Maitenaz joined Société des Lunetiers, who quickly got to work developing a new solution for bifocals. The invention of the varifocal lens stemmed from a completely new concept, revolutionising the world of optics and lenses. Bernard Maitenaz understood the limitations of bifocals and wanted to achieve a visual field that wasn’t obstructed by a break-line in the lens.

Varilux, the first varifocal lens

His expertise in optics and mechanics meant that the Varilux lens went into production in 1958, changing the world of optical lenses forever. In 1959, the lens was officially announced at the famous Congrès des Opticians in Paris.

Why was the Varilux lens such a revolutionary invention?

At the time, presbyopes only had one lens option and that was to wear bifocals. The Varilux lens meant that presbyopes could now see clearly with just one lens, for the very first time.

Uncorrected presbyopia causes almost constant discomfort in everyday life, with vision across the different zones being affected. The Varilux lens provided the ability to overcome signs of ageing; a truly revolutionary solution.

Graphic of Varifocal lens

Varilux lenses allow your vision to be constantly enhanced and comfortable; this is as true now as it was 60 years ago, giving natural vision back to presbyopes.

6 decades of development

The past 60 years have seen a lot of progression in the design and development of the Varilux lens. In the early 1990s, a new design process put the wearer at the heart of the technological advancements, known as Live Optics. This is still in place today.

There have been many different versions of Varilux lenses, each offering new and advanced optimisation for various visual needs. For instance, Varilux Comfort considered the different tolerance levels of the visual system, while Varilux Panamic offered better adaptation and a panoramic visual field.

The last 60 years has revealed a better understanding of the visual system, the physiology of the eye, and neuroscience through monitoring real-life situations and seeing how movements, posture and behaviours affect vision.

Live optics sensors

This has made it possible to expand the design and technology behind Varilux, a lens that has pushed the boundaries with 70 patents and over 500 researchers worldwide.

Today, Varilux lenses are still reinventing themselves. In 2017, Varilux X series was launched, which takes into account the modern behaviour of presbyopes. It was discovered that today’s presbyopes had specific requirements for arm’s length vision, at around 40-70cm. Engineers behind the lens completely reconsidered their previous conception of near vision, resulting in an innovative lens for total visual freedom.

With Varilux X series you can capture the details of multiple visual targets with just one gaze direction. You will no longer have to move your head and point your nose in the direction you wish to see, Varilux X series lenses allow you to look through any part of the lens and see clearly, resulting in truly natural vision.

Whether you have just started to develop presbyopia or are looking for a new pair of varifocal lenses consider Varilux, the number one recommended varifocal lens by eye care professionals(1).

 

 

(1) Varilux, #1 progressive lens brand worldwide. Euromonitor, 2017 data; Retail value amongst spectacle lenses' category, brands representing progressive lenses.