Progressive Memories

Werner Köppen

"In the middle of the 1970’s the Essilor worldwide sales of Varilux progressive spectacle lenses were about 3 million lenses. In 1975 American Optical introduced its Ultraview 25 and by the middle of the 1980’s eighties all big manufacturers had launched their own brand .This was the beginning of an era characterized by an exponential increase in the worldwide sales of the new product and by intense competition for market share and market leadership. Today the global market has a size of about 150 million progressive lenses sold."

I have tried to write a history about this fascinating period where the worldwide power balance of the ophthalmic industry changed fundamentally. The evolution of the progressive lens market and the market shares of the big manufacturers was key for this change. This history is particularly dedicated to all people who were fueling the market expansion of this new and most sophisticated spectacle lens by their creativity and professionalism. It is certainly a personal document where sometimes the memory of my own projects is most clear . But I tried to include references to all the big companies creating this new market and to their wonderful people whom I had the chance to meet.

This was particularly the case for SOLA where Kevin O’Connor helped me to write a more detailed view. In this sense this document will certainly evolve and your comments and input are very welcome.


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