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High-Definition Eyeglass Lenses

By Gary Heiting, OD

Do you have 20/20 vision when you wear your glasses but still feel dissatisfied with how you see? You might benefit from high-definition lenses.

Sometimes, higher-order aberrations can affect your vision, even if your prescription eyeglasses fully correct your nearsightednessfarsightedness and/or astigmatism. These aberrations may be due to the optical characteristics of your eyes or can be caused by the optical limitations of conventional eyeglass lenses.

But there’s good news! Recent advances in lens manufacturing have made possible new high-definition eyeglass lenses that correct these aberrations, potentially giving you sharper vision than you’ve ever had before with eyeglasses. These lenses are designed to provide sharper vision in all lighting conditions and reduce glare for nighttime driving and other night vision tasks.

Many brands of high-definition eyeglass lenses currently are available, including high-definition versions of high-index lensesprogressive lenses and photochromic lenses.

Keep in mind that for the best vision and comfort, all high-definition lenses should include anti-reflective (AR) coating to eliminate distracting reflections.

Free-Form Lenses

The most popular type of high-definition eyeglass lenses are called free-form lenses. The term “free-form” refers to an advanced manufacturing process that reduces higher-order aberrations such as spherical aberration that occur in eyeglass lenses created with traditional eyeglass lens manufacturing tools and processes.High-definition lenses are designed to provide sharper vision in all conditions and reduce glare for nighttime driving.

With free-form lenses (also called digital high-definition lenses), the fabrication of the lenses from wearer’s eyeglass prescription is optimized with computer-controlled surfacing equipment that is much more precise than conventional tools.

In fact, free-form technology can surface lenses in power increments of 0.01 diopter (D), compared with 0.125 to 0.25 D increments of conventional eyeglass lens tooling.

The fabrication of some digital, free-form lenses also takes into account how the lenses are positioned in front of the wearer’s eyes when in the eyeglass frame, to provide the most accurate lens power and the sharpest vision possible.

Other factors that may be considered in the lens customization process include the angle between the eye and the back surface of the lens in different gaze positions (for example, when the wearer is looking off to the side rather than straight through the center of the lens), the frame size and the position of the wearer’s pupil within the frame outline.

With these and possibly other factors taken into account during lens design and fabrication, high-definition eyeglass lenses offer an unprecedented degree of customization and may reduce or eliminate certain higher-order aberrations.

The precisely made and personalized surfaces of high-definition lenses may help reduce aberrations that limit field of view and cause starburstshalos and comet-shaped distortions of lights at night.

The result is that high-definition lenses may provide sharper image quality, better peripheral vision, improved contrast sensitivity and less glare at night.

Popular single vision high-definition eyeglass lenses include:

  • Essilor 360 DS (Essilor of America)
  • Hoya NuLux EP (Hoya Vision Care)
  • Shamir Autograph II SV (Shamir Insight)
  • Clarlet Individual (Carl Zeiss Vision)

Popular progressive high-definition lenses for correcting presbyopia include:

  • Hoyalux iD MyStyle (Hoya Vision Care)
  • Seiko Supercede (Seiko Optical Products of America)
  • Shamir Autograph II (Shamir Insight)
  • Varilux Physio DRx (Essilor of America)
  • Sola HDV (Carl Zeiss Vision)
  • Zeiss Progressive Individual 2 (Carl Zeiss Vision)

Because creating high-definition lenses requires additional information beyond what is recorded on your eyeglass prescription, your optician usually will take additional measurements when you choose your eyeglass frames.

Sometimes, a proprietary measuring device is used for fitting and fabricating a specific brand of free-form, high-definition lenses.

One example is the Zeiss i.Terminal 2, a photo-capture system that automatically measures several fitting parameters — including the distance between the wearer’s pupils (PD), fitting height, tilt of the frame (pantoscopic angle) and distance between the back of the lenses and the front of the eyes (back vertex distance) — to optimize the performance of Carl Zeiss Vision’s Individual brand of customized high-definition lenses.

Another example is the Visioffice 2 system from Essilor. This second generation, 3D patient measuring device provides eye care professionals an accurate, precise and consistent way to prescribe and fit high-definition eyeglass lenses that are personalized for each patient’s specific visual needs and frame choice, according to the company. The Visioffice 2 also features a frame selection module that enables patients to easily compare how they look wearing up to eight different frame styles.

Wavefront Lenses

Some lens manufacturers have introduced an even more customized type of high-definition eyeglass lenses called wavefront lenses.

Wavefront lenses are created with the help of the same sophisticated technology used to measure the optics of the eye prior to custom, wavefront-guided LASIK eye surgery: A computerized instrument projects uniform light waves into the eye, which reflect off the retina, and the returning “wavefront” of light is analyzed to evaluate all optical imperfections — not just refractive errors, but higher-order aberrations as well.

In custom LASIK, these wavefront measurements are used to program the excimer laser to reshape the front surface of the eye. In wavefront eyeglass lenses, the measurements drive a computer-controlled manufacturing process that creates customized, high-definition lenses.

The first brand of wavefront eyeglass lenses introduced in the United States was iZon High Resolution Lenses, manufactured by Ophthonix.

According to the company’s website, in simulated nighttime driving tests (55 mph in glare conditions), subjects wearing iZon High Resolution Lenses were able to detect, recognize and react to a pedestrian walking alongside the road an average of 20 feet sooner than drivers wearing conventional eyeglass lenses.

Besides improving night vision, iZon lenses also helped correct lingering vision problems following LASIK and other refractive eye surgery, the company said.

But only a limited number of optometrists and ophthalmologists prescribed iZon wavefront lenses, and in October 2012, Ophthonix announced it was ceasing operations after 11 years of business.

In 2011, Carl Zeiss Vision introduced a brand of wavefront high-definition lenses in the United States called i.Scription by Zeiss. Like iZon lenses, i.Scription by Zeiss lenses are designed to correct higher-order aberrations and provide sharper vision than regular eyeglass lenses.

According to the company, i.Scription by Zeiss lenses also help wearers see better in low light conditions and experience improved contrast and color vision.

In order to create i.Scription by Zeiss wavefront lenses, measurements of your eyes are performed by your eye care professional with the company’s proprietary i.Profiler Plus — a three-in-one automated device that measures refractive error, corneal topography and higher-order aberrations. Wavefront data gathered by the i.Profiler Plus are then sent to a Zeiss optical lab to fabricate the custom-made high-definition lenses.

Are You A Candidate For High-Definition Lenses?

Virtually anyone who wears eyeglasses is a good candidate for high-definition eyeglass lenses, but individuals with higher eyeglass prescriptions may notice greater benefits than people with only mild prescriptions.

Perhaps one of the best indicators that high-definition eyeglass lenses might be a good choice for you is if your optometrist or ophthalmologist says you have healthy eyes and 20/20 vision, but you are bothered by glare or your vision seems indistinct.

If you are dissatisfied with the clarity of your eyesight with your current glasses, ask your eye care professional if high-definition eyeglass lenses might provide sharper vision.

Cost Of High-Definition Lenses

Because of the sophisticated technology used to design and fabricate free-form and wavefront lenses and the added time and equipment required to fit them, expect to pay up to 25 to 30 percent more for high-definition eyeglass lenses, compared with conventional lenses of the same material and design.

Though high-definition lenses cost more than conventional eyeglass lenses, many people who try them — particularly wearers who’ve been frustrated by a lack of crisp vision with glasses in the past — find free-form and wavefront lenses produce a noticeable improvement in clarity and comfort.

[For the latest news about high-definition lenses and other eyeglass lenses, see What’s New in Eyeglass Lenses.]

Page published in February 2019

Page updated in October 2021Find Eye Doctor



The Top 10 Most Expensive Sunglasses in the World

First invented as a form of protective eyewear, sunglasses became one of the most prominent items in one’s possession. Rocked with fabulous white pearl chokers in true Breakfast at Tiffany’s fashion or paired with boho sundresses, shades are a fashionista’s must-have – regardless of the occasion.

Worn on the street or in the car, while going to the office or to the beach, sporty or fancy, cycling sunglasses are basically everywhere right now. Sometimes even in night clubs, after midnight. Why? I have no idea. But I won’t be the one to stumble on my way to the bar, trying to look cool.

From the inuit snow goggles made out of ivory to today’s best eyegear, sunglasses have been serving our eyes for a very long time. In the 1920’s, they became widespread, especially among celebrities and movie stars, the common reason being privacy. Later on, they were worn at the beach as the ultimate fashion accessory.

While their primary role was to protect our eyes from the harmful rays of the sun like UV or blue light, sunglasses have evolved into something more. Today they combine fashion and functionality. They assert status and demand privacy.

For some individuals, status is everything, so the sunglasses must be up to the task. Lavish, crafted by luxury designers from high-end materials, such as gold, platinum, diamonds, emeralds or other precious gemstones, these super expensive shades are available for the richest clientele in the world.

What’s more, to expand one’s status, the item has to be scarce. So most of the pricy sunglasses we are about to present here come in limited numbers. They don’t only protect one’s eyes, but more. They protect one’s status. But we can’t say the same about one’s wallet.

Here are the Top 10 Most Expensive Sunglasses:

Contents [hide]

10. Bentley Platinum – $45,276

Bentley Platinum

Bentley. The name says something else, right? High-end British luxury cars. Well, the famous automaker had decided to complement their wonderful cars with a collection of elegant sunglasses to be worn behind the wheel of their cars. To do that, they partnered with luxury eyewear company Estede to produce this limited edition collection.

As the name says, they are made out of pure platinum. But you can have them in yellow gold or white gold also, for a lower price. The frame is perfectly crafted and balanced, with a sophisticated design that reminds about the values of the company, about class and finesse. And while the design is subtle, the price is not: $45,276.

9. Gold and Wood 253 Diamond – $55,000

Gold and Wood 253 Diamond

Next title on our list is quite explanatory by itself. Masterfully crafted by the esteemed eyewear brand, Gold and Wood, and combining noble materials with unique skills and expertise, the 253 Diamond sunglasses are one of a kind.

Ever thought how much would a diamond cost? Ok, multiply that by 253. Yes, this model has 253 diamonds embedded in the frame. Not fancy enough? Then you should know that 22 of those gems are princess cut diamonds, which is the second most popular cut shape for diamonds. For real aficionados, that means a unique precious accessory. The price tag is shocking: $55,000.

8. Bulgari Flora – $59,000

Bulgari Flora

Bulgari, the famous Italian luxury brand, came out with a pair of sunglasses that quickly became extremely popular among the rich and famous. Elegant and sophisticated, they can be worn in formal occasions and promise to make one look stunning and classy.

The frame is made out of 18k pure white gold with inlaid diamonds and blue sapphires. But if you want to put your hands on a pair of these, you’ll need to pay a cool $59,000.

7. Maybach The Diplomat I – $60,000

Maybach The Diplomat I

At number 7 we’ve got another famous car maker on our list. Maybach, the German luxury car brand followed in the footsteps of Bentley and started exploring the sunglasses industry also. After all, you can’t drive a luxury car without wearing something to match it. So a pair of lavish sunglasses goes hand in hand with a car like that.

The Diplomat I, as they named them, ended up being no less awesome than their cars. Graceful and well designed, the 50 pieces of The Diplomat I were made of 18k gold plus 174 hand-crafted diamonds. With such a scarcity and a price tag of $60,000, these sunglasses are perfect even for collectors.

6. Luxuriator Style 23 Canary Diamond – $65,000

Luxuriator Style 23

The Luxuriator sunglass collection, created by a well known Los Angeles based jewelry manufacturing company, Jewelry by Franco, comes with some of the world’s most expensive sunglasses, the Style 23.

With an 18k gold frame and its 132 diamonds and buffalo ivory temples, the design of the Luxuriator Style 23 stands out from the crowd with ease. More than that, they come with photochromic lenses that change their tint according to the amount and brightness of the light. Impressive, right? But the price tag is equally stunning: $65,000.

5. CliC Gold 18 Carat Gold Sport – $75,000

CliC Gold 18 Carat Gold Sport

With a history that spans over more than 3 decades, CliC Gold is a popular brand in the industry. They’re known for the most expensive reading glasses in the world and now they partnered with Hugh Power to create the most expensive sport sunglasses in the world.

The result? The 18 Carat Gold Sport. Besides the lenses, which have the Carl Zeiss Super ET Anti-Reflective coating on the back, everything else is made out of 18k gold. The frame has a unique design, with a magnetic front connection system on the bridge, that’s a little impractical if you ask us, and the price will simply take your breath away: $75,000.

4. Cartier Panthere – $159,000

Cartier Panthere

Cartier, another well known luxury fashion brand has unveiled a few years ago the Panthere, a very special model of sunglasses. The name comes from the 18 carat white gold Panther embedded into the frame. Add to that the 561 diamonds and the 645 blue sapphires and you get an overwhelming design, ready to drop jaws left and right.

That should make up for their price, which is a breathtaking $159,000.

3. Shiels Jewellers Emerald – $200,000

Shiels Jewellers Emerald

Shiels Jewellers is another renowned name in the jewelry industry. The Australian company was founded back in 1945 by Jack Shiels, and one of their most interesting products to date is this pair of Emerald sunglasses. They’re actually inspired by the Roman Emperor Nero, who used emeralds to watch gladiator fights.

It took 5 years for the company to find, shape, cut and polish the emeralds into lenses. The frame is pure gold with embedded diamonds and the price is pure madness, especially since there’s only a low quality photo of these sunnies out there. You’ll have to pay $200,000 for this unique pair of sunglasses.

2. Dolce & Gabbana DG2027B – $383,609

Dolce Gabbana DG2027B

Top 3 without Dolce & Gabbana? Sure not. It’s one of the world’s most famous and luxurious brands of all time after all. The Italian brand is known for its elegant, stylish and extremely expensive products so.. there’s no surprise to find out they have the second most expensive sunglasses in the world.

The DG2027B, priced at the astonishing $383,609, have brown-tinted lenses rimmed in gold, while the brand name is literally written in diamonds on the arms of the glasses. What else could you wish for? Wearing them would skyrocket your status to the skies. And your bank account to the floor.

1. Chopard De Rigo Vision – $408,000

Chopard De Rigo Vision

Number one on our list of sunglasses comes from the Swiss luxury watch maker and jeweler Chopard. What makes it number one? Well, 60 grams of 24 carat gold for the frame, plus dotted gold for the arms. And if that wasn’t enough, the company’s signature is surrounded by 51 full-cut River diamonds.

They inspire awe, they scream out lavishness and indulgence, and for sure they’re not a pair of sunglasses you would want to lose, with their astonishing price of $408,000.Tags:

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