In this article, you´ll get a list of manufacturers of progressive lenses. After the list, we explain details which make you more aware of the differences between them.
- Carl Zeiss Vision (Gradal)
- Deutsche Augenoptik AG
- Essilor (Varilux)
- Eugen Stratemyer GmbH & Co.KG
- Frame Tec
- Nordhorn Optic
- Rupp + Hubrach
- Shamir (Autograph)
- Vision Ease
This list is by no means complete. But it shows you that there are a lot of manufacturers out there. The brand names for the manufactures may vary. For example, Essilor produces the lenses but Varilux is the brand name for their line of progressive lenses.
This can be confusing at some times this is why I wrote down the manufacturer first and their brand second. If there is any.
I added links to the brands with an English website.
What Is the Difference Between Those Brands for Progressive Glasses?
For those who are not familiar with the details, they seem to provide you pretty much the same ideas. Freeform, Premium lenses, highest quality and so on…
The thing with the lenses is though, the surfaces are not made with the same algorithms. Some people are totally fine and found their design in a special brand and some people do not mind if they switch progressive glasses. Most wearers of progressive lenses are not aware if they wear a manufacturer that emphasizes a softer or harder design. Both can work perfectly fine but they underline different aspects of your vision.
Side Note: Every lens design has distortions in the lens which causes blurry vision if you are looking more in the peripheral lower areas of your glasses. A harder design pushes the blurry parts further into the periphery. This leads to a wider sharp field.
However, if you proceed with your eye movements into the periphery the transition between sharp and blurry will be more noticeable compared to the soft designs. The soft progressive lens design stars earlier with a little blurry ness but you don´t notice the transition as much.
Some of the brands like Yuniku (which is a brand of Hoya) focus on the approach to combine those individualized lenses with a custom printed frame to give you the most comfort. Most of the manufacturer focus on delivering you the best experience in your vision in combination with a set of filters and coatings to provide the best protection for your eyes regarding radiation may it be UV Light, High-Intensity Blue Light or Infrared like Shamir does. They have your health in mind and can usually more deliver than cheaper manufacturers.
Although the experience for the wearer does not have to be compromised with a brand of progressive glasses which is not considered as Premium as the other lenses. Usually, the low price brands in this space have coatings that are not as hard as the pricier brands and they do not lead innovation.
What Is the Best Brand for Progressive Lenses?
All of them can deliver a lot of value for you if they are well adjusted to you, your prescription and your daily needs in your environment. If not the absolute high-end lenses also will not make you happy.
Because of the changes in the manufacturing of progressive glasses are very subtle. That does not mean it will not make any difference what you buy. Although we have just little tweaks between the lenses it can have a bigger impact on your feeling how comfortable glasses are.
Oftentimes people want the best product for the lowest price. In this case, the product is not just an article you can take away. The experience with progressive lenses can differentiate a lot. This is because the value you get out of progressive glasses to come with the understanding of you, how you move, your body positions, the craftsmanship of the measurements, your expectations (are they realistic?) and the fitting of the frame and your motivation to wear them.
Because of the physics behind the lenses and tha manufactureing. Progressive lenses have blur and distortion embedded. This is why there can not be a singe on progressive lens design that is simply the best.
Of course, you can buy progressive glasses online. And even if they say you get the best. You probably will not. By the way, what do you get? When a seller state the fact that these lenses are the best tech available right now? Premium is nothing that gives you the hint that a special design was used. And Premium also does not hold a set of individualized parameters in it. It is just a label that gives you the impression it must be good.
Test whatever progressive glasses you like to test but go to a place where people actually care about your eyes. They will make the best fit possible in the price-sensitive range as well as with the high-end brands they have in their shop.
Marketing from Brands of Progressive Lens Manufacturers
With marketing, I am talking about the little images you see about progressive lenses when you are in the situation about to choose “the quality” of the brand. Those images always show you where the blurry parts of the lenses are. And in most cases of those pictures the progressive lens you get has nothing to do with the shown pictures (to decide which lenses to pick).
The reason is the marketing teams of the manufacturers pick (especially for the elderly) unrealistic parameters. Like if the reading power was super low (Add value around +1,00D). But guess what most people using these glasses need quite a lot reading power (Add Value around +2,25). In those cases, people will have false expectations about what they are getting.
The Comparison of Progressive Lens Brands
In this table, we compare three of the biggest brands for progressive lenses in how much power they can produce in their high-end lenses. The lenses are all made out of the same material (1,6) which is more durable and a little bit thinner.
|Manufacturer||Trade Name||Model||Power Range||Max Astigmatism||Add max|
|Essilor||Varilux Xclusive 4D||Ormix Eye Protect System||-12,00 bis +8,00||6||4|
|Hoya||Hoyalux iD LifeStyle V+||Eyas 1,60;||-10,00 bis +8,00||6||3,50 |
|Rodenstock||Impression FreeSign PRO Individuell||PRO410 1,60||-10,00 bis +8,00||6||3,50 |
|Shamir||Autograph Intelligence (Excellence)||1.6 Blue Zero (UV420)||-15,00 – +8,00 ||6||3,50 |
Ok, this comparison tells you probably nothing in the first place. So let us have a closer look at some data shown here. First of all, every single lens here is a high-end piece of tech for the listed manufacturer. In the column Max Astigmatism, you will find pretty similar maximal parameters. (In some cases those labs can push this values up a little but you need to ask if it is possible in your case)
It looks pretty much the same. All of them can manufacture a similar amount of astigmatism. Let us now look at the column power range. Here we will also see one or two manufacturers that can handle a little more power than there competition but actually all the numbers are also pretty much the same.
You could go on with the differences like the twelve different designs that the Autograph Intelligence gives you depending on the Add value to further fine-tune the lenses to your needs which others do not. Or I could tell you that you do not have so many options in progressive lenses if you have different astigmatisms in your far and near prescription. But a lens that delivers you those parameters is the Impression FreeSign PRO Individuell. But you will not get the tech from Shamir or Seiko…
All the lenses have flaws. Which is due to the process in manufacturing. And they are not radically changing from one manufacturer to another. That does not mean all progressive lenses are created equal. It can make a difference what you choose. But practically speaking. The biggest part is the optician that does the fitting. Because if something does not run well it is usually the centration and the lens power which is both measured in the shop. So choose wisely.
P.S. One of the manufacturers whom you can expect a radically changed process in the making of your lenses is Luxexcel. They 3D print your lenses. I could not get the lenses into my hands for now. But I already contacted them. I will update this article as soon as I can compare their progressive lenses to the ones we used before.
This short article was a lot of fun for me.
I wish you a great day.