While innovation and technology continue to be the hallmark of this ophthalmic and optics company, its commitment to providing good vision to everyone, everywhere in the world, is steadfast as well
Over a hundred and sixty years of existence. More than 55,000 employees. Offices in over 62 countries. Presence in more than a hundred countries. With its clear-cut goals, its unwavering support to opticians, work ethics, cutting-edge technology, training programs and constant endeavour to improve vision across nations, Essilor is undoubtedly one of the world leaders in ophthalmic optics.
Essilor has three innovation and technology centres spread across the globe, manned by 550 researchers who are developing lenses of the future. With such pioneering work resulting in path-breaking innovations, the company has been listed on Forbes list of most innovative companies for a number of years.
Three of its innovations have championed the vision care industry in recent years. Optifog, the first anti-fog high performance lens. Crizal Forte UV, the first corrective lens to offer UV protection both front and back. And the Varilux S series, the progressive lens that offers unlimited vision to presbyopia patients.
In 2014, Essilor and Transitions Optical launched Transitions Graphite Green, a lens that uses Chromea7 technology which allows the lens to be more responsive to light.
A corporate policy driven towards excellence and research would also encompass social responsibility. A Corporate Mission division was created to specifically work towards good vision for everybody, everywhere in the world. This was further fine-tuned by the launch of the Vision for Life program, structured as a project to improve vision worldwide. At Essilor, corporate life comes full circle with business goals, technology and social commitment providing an unmatched connectivity.
History And Vision
Two companies, one founded in 1849, Essel and the other, Silor founded in 1931, joined forces in 1972 and became Essilor. Since then, armed as it was with the principles of the two parent companies, the entrepreneurial values of mutual trust, respect and building on differences, Essilor strode ahead with its own singular vision of progress, principles and innovativeness. It has created life-changing solutions: invention of the progressive lens, creation of plastic lenses, as well as lens coatings, hi-tech vision measurement tools and now customisation of visual correction based on personalisation parameters. Essilor has built its business on a basic and simple strategy: to allow as many people as possible to see well, to improve their quality of life.
Essilor’s strength lies in its core values – team spirit, innovation, trust and belief in the diversity that goes into the making of a team – this holds the business’ growth strategies rock-steady, even as it remains committed to the environment, social responsibility and funding of vision protection technology. From creating recyclable packaging to reducing water consumption, Essilor is carrying out practical initiatives to reduce the environmental footprint of the company and its products. The Essilor Vision Foundation was founded in Dallas in 2007 with the objective of promoting visual health across the United States and this is now being spread to other parts of the world including India.
Essilor has consistently strived for innovative products which change the market dynamics and that is why they are one of the market leaders. It is widely known that UV exposure can cause cataract, photokeratitis, photoconjunctivitis and pterygium in the eye. 1 out of 5 cataracts may be due to UV exposure. Each year 3 million people go blind from prolonged UV exposure, specifically the UV-A and UV-B radiation. As manufacturers specialising in technology-backed lenses, Essilor launched Crizal Forte UV that protects the eyes from UV radiation from both the front and back of the lens. It also gave an easy index to measure the level of UV protection – E-SPF (eye sun protection factor).
The Transitions Signature VII range of photochromic lenses give users more natural vision and enhanced contrast. These lenses react instantly to the light variance thanks to the Chromea7 technology giving users optimum glare protection.
Crizal Prevencia is the first clear lens to protect the eyes from harmful UV rays and blue light. It is designed to prevent premature ageing of eyes by selectively filtering out harmful light. It aims to preserve overall well-being by letting essential visible light pass through the lens and provide optimum vision and durable transparency by offering complete protection against reflections, scratches, smudges, dust and water.
The Varilux S Series is another milestone achievement by Essilor. It provides one of the most sophisticated visual solutions for presbyopes thanks to 2 exclusive revolutions – Nanoptix and Synchroneyes. The Varilux S range was developed according to ‘Live Optics’, a rigorous four-step R&D program whose final stage involved testing by a large sample of wearers around the world. Live Optics and approval by real time wearers ensure that the Varilux S is one of the fastest growing progressives.
Technology plays a critical role in improving dispensing results. Essilor has a range of measurement devices – like the VisiOffice, Eyepartner and V Scope – to other technologies that can be utilised in the dispensing environment to make the consumers more involved in the category. These devices can help opticians differentiate themselves and give their customers a unique wearer experience.
Technology also makes it possible to get personalised lenses. Special-need lenses, like those required for working on the computer or driving, can also be made with precision thanks to the advancement in technology. Similarly, Essilor Antireflective coatings, another technological advancement when applied onto ophthalmic lenses, promises to be really comfortable for the wearer, with its clarity and resistance to dust, scratches and smudges.
Essilor is also very focused on training – they have training at multiple levels to ensure that they help the opticians sell the best products to consumers. These trainings are multifaceted, from products to dispensing to soft skills and even business training.
Innovative marketing programs are the key strength of Essilor – building brands like Crizal and Varilux, the largest-ever loyalty program in the optical industry – Le Club, worldwide conventions and exciting promotions are a few of them.
The dictat is singular. Innovation at all levels of the company – products, services and marketing.
Vision For Life Program
In keeping with its promise of ensuring good vision worldwide, Essilor, as one of the world leaders in ophthalmic optics, has pushed the CSR envelope a little further by launching a special program called Vision For Life. The company has committed 30 million euros for this project, making it the world’s largest global strategic giving program dedicated to the elimination of Uncorrected Refractive Error. Through the project, Essilor will fund vision care programs worldwide in association with NGOs and local Essilor foundations. The programs aim to adopt a multi-pronged approach through awareness building, capacity-raising and the building of vision care infrastructure.
1849: The co-operative Société des Lunetiers or SL is founded in 1849 in Paris and was dedicated to manufacturing frames for glasses.
1927: During the 1920s, Nectoux, a SL engineer, developed curve calculations for new single vision lenses designed to compete with the German Punktal lens. This Stigmal lens was launched in 1927.
1951: Bernard Maitenaz, a young engineering graduate who had joined the SL design office, filed a patent right with the French National Industrial Property Institute and two years later SL registered the first patent for what would become the Varilux lens.
1959: Birth of the first progressive lens called Varilux.
1972: Varilux 2 makes its appearance in the market.
1983: Launch of Supra Scratch Resistant lenses.
1991: Launch of photochromic Transitions lens.
1992: Essilor launches its Crizal coatings brand.
1998: Essilor launches the Airwear polycarbonate lens.
2000: Launch of Varilux Panamic.
2005: Essilor designs the first lens capable of relieving the symptoms of visual fatigue called Essilor Antifatigue.
2006: Essilor launches Varilux Physio; Introduces Crizal A2 with anti-static properties to repel dust.
2007: Launch of Crizal Sun, the first anti-reflective lens designed specially for sunglasses.
2008: Marks the launch of Visioffice, a complete system installed in optical stores, for testing eyesight. Essilor also entered into a research partnership with the Institut de la Vision in Paris.
2009: Crizal Forte is launched.
2010: Launches Varilux Physio 2.0 lenses. The company also launches Varilux Comfort New Edition and Myopilux lenses.
2012: Launches Optifog, the first anti-fog high performance lens.
2013: Launches Varilux S.
2014: Launches Transition Graphite Green. Also wins four Vision-X VP Awards – Most Popular Lens (Progressive), Most Popular Lens (Best Value), Most Popular Lens Coating/Value Add and Best Value Enhancer (Lab).
2015: Launches Vision For Life Program.