Choose Lenses Before Glasses Frames – I Chose Essilor

You and others see your glasses frames, but only YOU look through the lenses. First, consider the lenses, the most important component of your glasses. I chose Essilor.

My research into much-needed replacement lenses for my glasses frames led me to choose Crizal lenses, combined with Varilux and Transitions technology by Essilor.

Crizal lenses, as I learned, offer superior sharpness with protection against glare in daylight as well as during nighttime, including while driving when it really counts. Even in front of studio lights, the glare is gone within my view as well as to those looking at me. This is from super-premium AR or anti-reflective coating. The list of benefits does not stop here. Crizal lenses also include excellent built-in scratch resistance. The hard yet lightweight lens surface also resists smudges, water (spots), and to cap it off, Crizal lenses provide protection from UV rays. Read my story below to learn how I [unfortunately] tested the scratch-resistance capability, without a scratch.

Varilux adds the element of imperceptible, smooth transitions from near to far vision and everywhere in between. Even more, these lenses can provide edge-to-edge sharp, crisp vision, through the near to far, top to bottom, and left to right. In other words, wearers get to see clear and sharp images across the entire lens surface without aberration. I had not ever experienced this seamlessness before because I was unaware of its availability from any eyewear professional previously visited. Frankly, once experienced, I will never return to ordinary lenses. I am so spoiled, and the view is terrific.

Why progressives?

Why is this important? For my needs, it’s very important. I need multifocal lenses, beyond bifocals. I could have chosen trifocals, with three distinct lines that section off near vision at the bottom, mid-range in the middle and distance in the top section. Long ago I switched to no-line progressive lenses, but these have their own set of issues. Viewing through traditional progressive lenses provides clarity and sharpness of vision only through certain central-ish points on the lens.

In persons without the need for glasses, for example, one does not need to move one’s head. Only the eyes require movement to look clearly up down and all around at any eye position. Through ordinary progressive lenses, the full field of view is not available. One must adjust the head to bring into focus those areas near the center of the field of view because, without head movement, those areas are otherwise out of focus.

Driving, piloting aircraft, creating art, visiting the national parks and other travel, creating on a computer screen, watching a big screen TV or a movie screen, or even reading a book of magazine, or attending a sporting event, wearing non-Crizal without Varilux lenses necessitates a lot of head movement. With Crizal and Varilux technology, no unnatural head movement is needed.

Varilux lenses are digitally (more precisely) ground to provide the anywhere vision in the near, mid-range and distance areas across the full area of the lens surface, as if not wearing corrective lenses at all!

Free-form digital lenses

The technology is more complicated than this, but think of watching your old analog TV that looked OK until you saw your first High Definition TV show, sporting event or movie on a quality flat panel display. The finished Crizal lenses are created in a sort of free-form way from a solid block, using precise, computer-controlled equipment programmed by a well-trained technician.

To the best of my knowledge, only Varilux technology can provide the all-over sharpness and clarity across an entire progressives lens surface.

Transitions provide me with what I found to be the best lenses that adapt from clear with no sun indoors or outdoors, to dark in bright sunlight. Now, I will be able to avoid the added expense and inconvenience of a separate pair of prescription sunglasses. I don’t know about you, but I have always hated juggling between clear and dark glasses, and now, with Transitions, no more juggling. I am impressed by the speed of the transition when going from dark to clear. Other lenses that darken with the sun may start with a bit of dark tint, which I did not want. Are these as dark as I would prefer in standalone sunglasses? No, they are not. However, the degree of darkness is still more than acceptable and a welcome trade-off instead of having to manage two pairs of glasses for daily use.

One pair of glasses does it all

I have avoided the expense of separate clear lenses and sunglasses, and found vision as perfect as I never knew possible. All my other glasses’ lenses were no match for everything provided in my new lenses.

It’s a choice, and after my experience, I don’t want to be without Essilor in front of my eyes.

I value and appreciate all that my research has yielded, sending me to Haig and to Essilor.

That’s what value is all about!

 

Here is my story . . .

Like most of you, when it was time to get my eyes checked, I received a prescription for new eyeglasses to take wherever I wished to get the prescription turned into a new pair of specs.

Throughout the years, the Gadget Family has had new glasses made through Costco and Kaiser, at LensCrafters, and through ophthalmologist’s offices, among others. When new frames were selected, however, it was always without regard for the type and quality of the lenses. What did we know but to listen to and take the advice of the professional in front of us? Lens quality and their relative capabilities were never discussed. What was always discussed was added fees for anti-reflective (AR) coating as well as for scratch-resistant coatings. No one ever discussed any of the other properties mentioned above. I was ignorant, not knowing of choices or of the questions to ask.

When I could no longer bear looking through an increasing and obtrusive number of spider web-like micro scratches on my existing lenses, it occurred to me that I should pay attention to the quality of the lenses and not just take the prescription to have it tranlated into lenses about which I know nothing and have no choice of the process by which they are created.

Microscratches became unbearable on Kaiser-supplied lenses with scratch-resistant coating applied. Photo courtesy Henry Diltz

Microscratches became unbearable on Kaiser-supplied lenses with scratch-resistant coating applied. Photo courtesy of Henry Diltz

Why? Those micro scratches had developed over time in lenses that were made about four years ago while I was insured through Kaiser. I well remember the discussion about my choices, none of which included choices of lens manufacturer or quality, I paid extra for scratch-resistance and anti-reflective coating. Those bothersome scratches obscured my vision and distracted me from what was beyond the scratches. I learned that the coating was not of high quality and was not permanent, that it would wear out. There was no discussion about what kind of lenses would be required to satisfy my vision requirements or to satisfy my wishes because I did not know of any choices, not only at Kaiser, but anywhere. The old lenses had to go!

Mr-Gadget-head_x3000_0347Let me make it clear that I am very happy with my unique, nearly 20 year-old frames from EyeWearHouse in Westlake Village, CA that are still in great shape. I continue to regularly receive positive comments about them, too, so why change? Costco’s Optical Department had told me years ago that they would no longer be able to put new lenses into my old frames, even though they are of high quality titanium. I was told they were too old and Costco did not want to accept any responsibility for them. I offered to waive responsibility, but that offer was refused. What a blessing that turned out to be!

The first step was to get my eyes checked. It was time for a new prescription. For that, I relied on Dr. Michael Khoury, a well-regarded optometrist with an office adjacent to the optical counter inside Costco in Van Nuys, CA.

Instead of simply taking my newly minted prescription to Costco’s optical counter for new frames and lenses, I asked Dr. Khoury a few questions about better quality lenses than what Costco offers and for a place that would still service my own frames. I also wanted to know if he had a recommendation for an old-world artisan, a dispensing optician who is also a craftsman with impeccable credentials to work with me by translating the prescription into finished product on the premises, with the shop’s own equipment. Without hesitation, Dr. Khoury referred me to Haig Chorbajian at Paris Optique in nearby Studio City, CA. (818) 752-0202.

Research in the optical lens market led me to the major players. Having determined that Essilor was the company and that Crizal would be my lens choice, I called and then visited Haig.

Haig’s professionalism was immediately impressive, just as Dr. Khoury had suggested. My choice of Essilor was validated. Then, I learned from contacting Essilor that Haig is one of a few go-to people in whom Essilor has ultimate confidence to do the job to perfection on-site. He is NOT an eye doctor. He is a dispensing optician who makes glasses from the prescription provided by a vision care professional. The upside is his ultimate attention to detail, that is, EVERY detail.

With confirmation of such a good match between lens material and dispensing optician, Haig spoke with his Essilor representative and awaited the exact decided upon lens material that would provide the best experience, even better than originally thought. Haig seemed genuinely excited to work with the newest, state-of-the-art Essilor lenses.

I was getting Crizal for their crystal clarity and glare-free properties. Transitions lenses change from clear to darker quickly with the sun’s brightness, and then back to clear in just a minute or two. Varilux gives this seamless sharp vision I want at any distance and across the entire lens surface from left to right, from top to bottom, from near to far. Properties of all three are melded into one Crizal product to meet my goals.

When the lens blanks arrived, Haig called and I set up an appointment to have the new lenses created and inserted into my frames while I waited and watched.

Observing the process unfold, I was struck by the human factor as well as the mechanized process. As with anything computer-related, it is always garbage in/garbage out. Haig’s attention to detail through precise measurements and rechecks, then his data input to the computerized equipment resulted in what I can only describe as magical perfection.

My new Crizal lenses do, indeed, provide edge-to-edge sharpness without any perceptible break when going from near to intermediate to far. My vision is better than I have ever experienced, at least that I can recall. Day and night vision is without glare or spikes from artificial lighting hot spots, such as from other cars, street lighting, signs and signals. Driving through hard rain is also a visual pleasure.

Indoors, these lenses are virtually clear. Outside, depending upon the sun’s brightness, the lenses go from just a bit darker to quite dark, and I have confidence that the lenses’ built-in UV protection is helping my eyes avoid UV-caused damage. With inherent scratch resistance and the superb anti-reflective coating, I expect to enjoy my lenses no matter how long I have this set. Sure, I will exercise reasonable care.

Another noticed benefit is that my new Crizal lenses do not get dirty as quickly as have all others preceding them. This dirt rejection and smudge resistance is something to experience, another benefit of the Essilor technology in these lenses! So, there is less need to clean them (with a proper lens cleaning cloth, of course). It would appear that the lens hardness and scratch resistance will provide this dust and grime rejection throughout their useful life.

Update – – several weeks after my new glasses were made, I tripped and fell while crossing the street at night. Unfortunately, I went down first on my hip, then right knee, my right hand and finished my downward “trip” by landing on my head, just above the outer orbit of my right eye. The fall gave me a few bruises (I’m fine!) and appeared to have broken my glasses! The top right outer edge took the hit, bending the frames and popping the right lens out onto the asphalt pavement. The next morning, I took the mess to Haig. In just a few minutes, he was able to resurrect my frames to live on, refit the busted out lens and, best of all, there was NO damage to either lens. Not a scratch! I am certain that lesser quality lenses would not have fared as well, though I cannot be certain. I believe this is a testament to the high degree of scratch resistance of the Essilor lenses. I would never have deliberately tested my lenses in this manner, but ever so pleased at the outcome. I am happier than ever with my choices!

I cannot imagine seeing better. I am very pleased. Thank you Essilor and thank you Haig Chorbajian of Paris Optique.

Even if you are not as fortunate as I to have your own nearby in-house professional of Haig’s level to make your lenses and care for you as I have found, look for the nearest Essilor-approved optometrist or ophthalmologist by entering your Zip Code through the Essilor Website. Or, call them at 214-496-4000 to ask if there is a dispensing optician near you who can translate your prescription into new frames or your existing frames. (Dispensing opticians who can set you up with Essilor might not be listed through the Essilor Website.) By taking your business to one of these experts, you will have access to what I have found to be the best choice in eyeglass lenses, though I believe you would find it difficult, at best, to equal Haig’s capabilities, and certainly none to exceed them.

And if there is no nearby professional, call Essilor to ask if they will work with your chosen provider who can send your frames to Essilor facilities to have your new Essilor lenses created and mounted in your frames, then returned to you. Your local eyewear professional will do the final check to ensure proper final fit.

The next time you’re due for new glasses, please look into Essilor. I am confident you will learn, as I did, that Crizal is a far cut above the competition.

Update #2 – – One thing lacking was a spare pair of glasses to use as backup only. Sure, it would have been nice to get all the bells and whistles in the backup pair, but it was more reasonable to get as close to the best as possible without the expense. Using another pair of my own frames, Haig created a new set for these old frames with the lesser specifications. Having the experience with Crizal and the other capabilities, the first thing noticed was all the head movement that was now needed in day-to-day life. These are not Varilux! They are still digital lenses with darkening technology for outdoor use. The anti-reflective and scratch resistance is now in an added-on coating that is not expected to resist wear as well as my main pair. While my vision is sharp and clear, the backup glasses are NOT what I have come to appreciate about Crizal, Transitions and Varilux all wrapped in one, but they’ll do fine as backup pair of glasses.

Having this experience with one perfect and another less-than-perfection set of glasses only makes me appreciate my main pair even more.

 

For those hardcore followers who would like to accompany me on my visit with Haig at Paris Optique and follow along, here we go, and stay with it to see a video interview with Haig after receiving my new lenses . . .

Meticulous measurements of original, scratched lenses.

Meticulous measurements of original, scratched lenses.

 

Using my old lenses as a guide, Haig measures, then needs machine measurements to get the correct size of the new finished lenses.

Using my old lenses as a guide, Haig measures, then uses computer measurements to get the correct size to match the new finished lenses.

 

Old lenses in frames with locating blocks affixed, ready for computer-reading for size matching to new lenses.

Old lenses in frames with locating blocks affixed, ready for computer-reading to match shape and size to new lenses.

 

Measure, check, measure and check again.

Measure, check, measure and check again, readying new lens blanks.

 

New Crizal lens blanks before milling with locating block attached.

New Crizal lens blanks before milling with locating block attached.

 

Data points entry display, ready to mill new lenses, matched in size to old, with new prescription data entered.

Data points entry display, ready to mill new lenses, matched in size to old, with new prescription data entered.

 

Inside is where the process takes place.

Inside is where the process takes place, one lens at a time.

 

NEW lenses get darker in the sunlight.

NEW lenses get darker in the sunlight.

More? Sure! Following are short videos of most steps along the way during the creation process.

Once locked in the machine, the process begins . . .

Finally, Haig is intereviewed to discuss his training, experience, expertise and the process involved in creating Mr. Gadget’s new Crizal lenses IN HIS SHOP. This is a vanishing art.