VSP Optics’ Don Oakley on…
New Lens Tech
Donald Oakley joined VSP in September 2006 as vice president of supply chain, bringing more than 35 years of experience in international marketing and operations to the role. Now, as president of VSP Optics, he is responsible for VSPOne Technology Centers, Plexus Optix, and VSP Optics’ proprietary, innovative optical solutions, including Unity digital lenses, SunSync light-reactive lenses, and TechShield anti-reflective coatings.
Prior to joining VSP, Oakley was a general manager of international operations in the plastics industry, and he worked for Essilor Laboratories from 2000-2003.
Here, Oakley talks with EB about the current state of lens technology and what may still be to come.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MOST EXCITING ELEMENT TO LENS TECH TODAY?
There are two things that stand out for me. First, our ability as an industry to provide improved levels of protection for the eyes and overall vision. Whether it’s TechShield, SunSync, or Unity, we’re looking at protection with a 360-degree view. Second, the advances in manufacturing of lenses. We’re now producing quality products more consistently, so when they reach the customers they don’t have issues with adaptation or costly redos.
IN WHAT DIRECTION DO YOU SEE LENS TECHNOLOGY HEADING IN THE FUTURE?
I believe first and foremost that the old adage of “mass customization” will disappear and we will be able to build bespoke eyewear for each individual. New and improved in-practice technologies will help us go beyond refraction, and coupled with advanced manufacturing technologies, we will be able to produce eyewear designed for an individual’s physiology, neuromuscular, and refractive nuances—like getting a custom-made suit for your eyes.
VSP OPTICS HAS DONE A DEEP DIVE INTO R&D, LAUNCHING LENS PRODUCTS LIKE UNITY VIA AND SUNSYNC ELITE THAT RAISE THE BAR WITHIN EACH OF THOSE CATEGORIES. IS THIS PART OF A NEW FOCUS ON TECH?
We have always tried to remain on the cutting edge with new, but proven, technology. Our latest products are perfect examples of that dedication. Innovation is deeply rooted within VSP Global’s mission. With that in mind, we’re developing products that are more than just incrementally better. Every product we bring to market is designed to provide a serious leap forward in unique technology beyond the previous generation. We try to drive that value and set a new standard in the marketplace.
WITH SUCH A VARIETY OF NEW LENS PRODUCTS, ESPECIALLY IN THE PAL CATEGORY, IT CAN BE EASY FOR ECPS TO BECOME OVERWHELMED WITH OPTIONS. HOW CAN THEY FOCUS THEIR OFFERINGS FOR PATIENTS?
It’s important to keep in mind not only the unique nature of the patient’s physiology, but also their lifestyle. Marry that lifestyle and physiology together so the lenses you prescribe are specific to the things they love to do or do more frequently. When it comes down to it, it’s focusing on the consumer.
VSP OPTICS’ LENS DESIGNS AND TREATMENTS PROVIDE CUTTING-EDGE PRODUCTS FOR VSP MEMBERS. ARE THERE BENEFITS TO NONMEMBERS AS WELL?
Our products under the Unity, TechShield, and SunSync brands are available to all VSP network providers, and they are great choices for their patients, whether they are VSP members or nonmembers. —ST
Delivering style + inspiration
a global stage for eyewear and optics, the 52nd edition of the SILMO Paris optical fair—held Sept. 28 to Oct. 2 at the Paris Nord Villepinte center—served 37,000 professional visitors, including 56% foreign visitors, and 965 exhibitors, including 77% foreign exhibitors.
Show highlights included:
A new global space at the exhibition, SILMO NEXT, took a look at the future with THE SELECTION of trendy products, which also appear in the digital magazine TRENDS by SILMO.
The SILMO d’Or award winners were announced on Sept. 28 during a night of festivities at the Musée des Arts Forains. Winners included Marchon with Marni ME 2623 in the Fashion Optical Frames category and Zeiss Group for UV Protect in the Vision category.
The SILMO ACADEMY scientific conference convened more than 100 opticians to learn about “Vision and Growth, 0 to 20 Years of Age,” a training course led by top scientists.
Save the date for next year’s SILMO, scheduled for Sept. 27-30, 2019.