Polarized Lenses Gather Momentum

A timeline of recent product launches and developments


The polarized lens market, both prescription and plano, has taken on new dimensions in the past few years. This timeline shows some of the most important recent developments in the polarized lens category, including notable acquisitions, key product launches and new technology introductions.

August, 2013
Revo Gets New Owner and Renewed Development

Sequential Brands Group Inc. acquired the Revo brand, including all of the related intellectual property and certain other assets, from Oakley. In connection with the acquisition, Sequential signed a long-term license agreement with eyewear company B. Robinson to manufacture and distribute Revo sunglasses and related products. The company signed a long-term partnership agreement with Sunglass Hut to continue distribution of Revo at Sunglass Hut stores globally and enable Revo-branded eyewear to be sold at other retailers as well.

July, 2013
Essilor Acquires Intercast

Essilor acquired 100 percent of the capital of Intercast, a Parma, Italy-based maker of high-performance sunlenses, including the NXT line. Essilor said the move, which was announced simultaneously with Essilor’s acquisition of Transitions Optical, is part of the company’s strategy of helping eyeglass wearers with “brightness management.”

July, 2013
Transitions Optical Celebrates Production of One Million Transitions Vantage Lenses

The one millionth Transitions Vantage lens came rolling off a production line in Transitions Optical’s Pinellas Park, Fla. plant this summer. Transitions Optical’s second shift trans-polarizing production team celebrated the event. Pictured (l to r) are Leslie Wall, Shaun Severin, Amanda Finan, Renee Gouaux, Bill Putnam and Kelly Wilson.

March, 2013
Transitions Optical and Younger Optics Host Educational Tour

Transitions Optical and Younger Optics hosted the Bright Solutions city tour, which stopped in 15 cities throughout the U.S. The ABO-approved educational events offered insights into the changing expectations of consumers and how eyecare professionals can meet these expectations by personalizing lens recommendations based on each patient’s individual lifestyle needs. The seminar also provided sample patient profiles and research based guidelines on the most impactful ways to recommend everyday and sunwear lenses. Shane Scott, Younger Optics (l) and Brian Atkinson, Transitions Optical, are seen presenting at the Bright Solutions City Tour in Fort Worth, Texas.

February, 2013
Costa’s New Rx PAL Widens Field of View

Costa Del Mar’s Rx division launched C-Scape, an exclusive progressive sun lens design engineered to accommodate the distance vision needs of water sports and outdoors enthusiasts. The new C-Scape technology widens the field of view from left to right and enhances peripheral vision to create what Costa referred to as, “the clearest Rx sun lens available.”

To produce the lens, Costa utilizes its proprietary Waypoint digital processing technology which eliminates the blurry edges that can bother active wearers of wrap sunglasses. The process is computer guided for accuracy, and also incorporates the behavior patterns of the active wearer, the high base curve effect of the wrap lenses and specific frame data. This leads to a wider field of vision and improved clarity and comfort, allowing the lenses to be worn all day without eyestrain and headaches, Costa said.

Costa fills all Rx sunglass orders at its state-of-the-art prescription lab in Daytona Beach, Fla.

January, 2013
Essilor Launches Xperio UV Lenses

Essilor of America launched Xperio UV lenses, the first and only outdoor lens solution to offer all of the benefits of a polarized lens, plus complete protection against damaging UV light for long-term visual health. Xperio UV is the first, complete outdoor sunlens solution that eliminates blinding reflective glare while providing the maximum UV protection on both the front and backside of the lens. During the consumer advertising campaign, which ran this year from February to July 2013, there were approximately 1,500 daily unique visits to the ECP locator on XperioUV.com to find an ECP near them, the company reports. Additionally, the lenses are the only option on the market to offer an Eye-Sun Protection Factor (E-SPF) of 50+, which provides at least 50 times more protection from dangerous UV radiation compared to wearing no lenses at all.

November, 2012
Maui Jim Celebrates Creation of One Millionth Pair of Rx Sunglasses

Maui Jim made its one-millionth pair of polarized prescription sunglasses at its 25,000 square foot digital lens lab in Illinois, a major milestone in the company’s 16-year history. The Hawaii-based company claims to be the fastest growing manufacturer of premium polarized sunglasses in the world. Most of the company’s sunglasses are available with prescription lenses. Maui Jim is the world’s only company that is able to produce polarized prescription single gradient lenses.

October 2012
Younger Optics Releases First Polarized Lens iPad App in Optical Industry

Younger Optics released NuPolar, an educational iPad app that eyecare professionals can use to demonstrate polarized lenses to their patients. The free, high-tech tool engages patients in a discussion about the unique benefits of polarized Rx sunwear. The app includes images, computer graphics and narrated video to help the patient understand both polarized sunlight and polarized lenses.

The NuPolar iPad app is distributed exclusively through Apple’s online iTunes Store.

May, 2012
Transitions Optical Launches Vantage, the First Variable Polarized Lens

Transitions Optical launched Vantage, featuring the latest breakthrough in adaptive lens technology—variable polarization. Transitions Vantage lenses are the first lenses designed to both darken and polarize upon UV exposure.

Until now, polarization existed primarily as a fixed film in sun lenses. Transitions Vantage lenses employ a new technology different than current photochromics and polarization. While current photochromic molecules darken in random patterns creating an even tint, the photochromic dyes in Transitions Vantage lenses not only darken, but also align to create polarization. This means that Transitions Vantage lenses will have a variable level of polarization efficiency depending on the amount of UV exposure—the darker the lens, the more polarization efficiency there is. The lighter the lens, the less polarization there will be.

April, 2012
Safilo Completes Acquisition of the Polaroid Eyewear Business

Safilo Group S.p.A. announced they completed the acquisition of the Polaroid Eyewear business, a move originally announced in November 2011. 2012 was Polaroid’s 75th Anniversary, a pioneer in polarized lens technology and iconic sunglass brand. Safilo Group said Polaroid would occupy an important place alongside the company’s other owned brands, including Carrera, Safilo and Smith, the company said. Safilo then develops a new, contemporary marketing campaign for Polaroid.

March, 2012
KBco and Transitions Release Xperio Transitions in Polycarbonate

KBco and Transitions Optical released Xperio Transitions performance sunlenses in polycarbonate. The polarized sunlenses adapt to changing light conditions, improve contrast and reduce blinding glare from sunlight reflected off the surface of objects, water or snow.

May, 2011

Safilo Launches Carrera X-Cede

Sàfilo USA launched Carrera X-cede, powered by NXT lens technology, a technologically advanced, color-enhancing, polarized lens offering, in a prescription-ready Carrera sunglass collection. The patented, proprietary technology uses a breakthrough non-film polarization system that provides a molecular bond to the lens, fusing polarization and color-enhancement. It provides edge-to-edge polarization and optical clarity, which will not delaminate, peel or fade. The lenses are only available through the Carrera X-cede authorized laboratory network and Carrera X-cede authorized optical retailers.

April, 2011
Vision-Ease Kicks Off Coppertone ‘Endless Summer’ Promotion

Vision-Ease Lens launched its “Endless Summer” sales promotion in support of its Coppertone brand polarized prescription lenses. The company also raised the brand’s profile with a new Coppertone website and brochure that emphasized that the lenses also block harmful HEV and blue light. Coppertone lenses also received a nod from the The Skin Cancer Foundation, which recommended them as an effective UV filter for the eyes and surrounding skin. ■