I posted an initial review of the latest progressive lens from Varilux, the X Design, when it first launched back in late August/early September. My initial review can be found here. After wearing the lenses for a couple of months, I wanted to provide an update based on my continued observations.
Review of Varilux X Design…Continued
As you may recall, my initial review of the latest progressive lens from Varilux, the X Design, was glowing. My experience of the near and intermediate zones was phenomenal. After wearing continuously for over two months, I still find this to be true, but I do wish to get a little more detailed on the experience.
Breaking down the Distance
I believe I have found how they improved the intermediate and near so much. The width of the distance zone is noticeably smaller. While it’s not so small I would call it problematic, I think it’s important to note that if your needs are exceptional crispness and width of field in the distance, you may want to pause before going with the Varilux X series.
My initial thought when I noticed the smaller distance zone, was that perhaps my glasses weren’t properly aligned. I suspected that my pupils might be sitting on the edge of the intermediate zone and that was why I was having issues. But I remarked my lenses and took note of placement…even making small adjustments to how they sat on my face…and I could not increase the width of my distance vision.
The vast majority of my visual lifestyle takes place in the intermediate and near zones. All of my work with patients, on computers, and phone/reading. However, I am also exceptionally picky about my distance vision and I am a dominant eye-turner. Rather than holding my eyes straight ahead and move my neck to align my vision, I tend to look out of the corner of my eye and expect to see sharply.
This has led me to rethink my initial glowing review of the X series.
Intermediate – Arms Length
The zone of the lens dedicated to arms length (think your computer monitor, or dashboard in your car) is excellent. Both the width of this zone, as well as the depth of field is very good. The depth in the corners of this zone is not quite as good as the center. So, if you need to see something closer than you’d expect at that height, it needs to be in the center of the zone, and not out of the corner of the eye. Still enough quality width, clarity, and depth to highly recommend if this distance is critical for you.
I have noted that patient experiences have varied a bit on the quality of this zone, based upon how tall their lens is (how much distance from their pupil to the bottom of the frame). Those with a longer corridor, or a stronger add (over +2.25) seem to find their intermediate zone a little lower. This can still be fixed with adjustment of fit to a great degree, but it is something to consider if the frame you choose has your eyes very close to the top of the lens and it’s oversized.
Near Zone – How’s the Reading?
The reading-or near zone, has a similar wearing experience as the intermediate. The width of the zone is very very good. If you want to see something at arms’ length, then you’ll want it closer to the middle of your lens. But there are a couple of spots in the periphery where the intermediate distance becomes quite good. You do have to hunt for this location just a bit. When it pops in for intermediate it’s very very good though.
Does it Work for All Prescriptions?
So far, after fitting this as my primary progressive lens for over two months, I have found that there seems to be a broad range of prescriptions which can wear this lens design effectively. So much so that I would not say there is any specific power limitations for a good wearing experience.
I still feel that the X Design lens is an excellent choice for the vast majority of patients. I still love wearing the lens. There is a peripheral loss of clarity in the distance portion of the lens, but it’s still far enough to the corners of the lens that I don’t find it exceptionally annoying or distracting. If you need to have super crisp edge to edge distance vision, this lens design may not be for you.
While every lens design that comes out claims to be the salvation that fixes all the problems for all patients, this has yet to be true. The X series comes very very close to doing this, but it’s still not quite the magic pill.
*please note that I have been wearing and testing the Varilux X Design. The X series refers to a collection of 3 related lens designs, the X Design, the X Fit, and the X Fit 4D. I have not tried the other two lenses in the family of products.