So. Cal. Kaiser Lab Completes Carl Zeiss Vision Free-form Enablement

By Andrew Karp: Group Editor, Lenses + Technology

 Watching Kaiser lab manager Jeff Zeidner cut the ceremonial ribbon are (l to r) LaJeanne Niles, Steve Mitrakos and Joe Donahoe of Carl Zeiss Vision, David Gilman and Dr. Susy Yu of Kaiser Vision Essentials.
SAN DIEGO—Vision Essentials by Kaiser Permanente - Southern California has completed the enablement process to produce Zeiss Customized Lenses at their in-house laboratory, and has launched a full portfolio of customized Zeiss lenses at all of their Southern California locations.

The enablement is the culmination of a four-year partnership between the two organizations that included a number of firsts:

  • In 2009, Vision Essentials by Kaiser Permanente - Southern California was the first lens fabricator to sign a license agreement with Carl Zeiss Vision to produce free-form customized progressive lenses under U.S. Patent 6,089,713.
  • The Vision Essentials by Kaiser Permanente - Southern California Laboratory is the first optical lab enabled to produce Carl Zeiss Vision customized progressives using the OptoTech free-form platform.
  • Kaiser Permanente’s Southern California region is the first staff-model managed care organization in the U.S. to offer a 100 percent customized progressive lens portfolio.

“This effort has been a partnership in the best sense of the word,” said Mitch Rutledge, administrator for Vision Essentials in Southern California. “Once we showed Zeiss the direction we wanted to go in, they committed to it fully. The fact that Zeiss had never enabled their customized lenses on an OptoTech platform was a challenge, but the two companies worked closely together to make it happen. We’re confident that we’ve chosen the right partners to bring the best in customized lenses to our members.”

“Southern California Kaiser’s Vision Essentials team has shown an impressive commitment to customized lenses,” remarked Joe Donahoe, president of Carl Zeiss Vision North America. “Jeff Zeidner, Kaiser Southern California’s lab manager, recognized the potential of free-form customization early on. This spurred a team effort involving Kaiser management, OptoTech, and multiple organizations within Carl Zeiss Vision. Throughout the process, Dr. Susy Yu, Kaiser Southern California’s director of business strategy and operations support, has provided invaluable guidance and support. We’re proud to be part of this effort.”