From inception to category leader within three years, the rapid evolution of Unity Via Progressive Lenses involves a series of trials, milestones, and even a tribulation or two. Click on a button within the interactive timeline to learn more about each stage in the journey and read accounts from key players along the way.
Click on a section within the timeline for additional information, ECP and patient reactions, and personal reflections from some of the key players at specific stages of the portfolio’s rapid rise to the network’s most preferred progressive lenses.
A concept is developed to produce a revolutionary progressive lens portfolio that blends pioneering technology, unprecedented wearer satisfaction, and a surprising degree of simplicity. Manufacturing partners are solicited to achieve the following demanding technology and design requirements:
“Putting the design out to market meant we weren’t handcuffed by R&D legacy, allowing us to tap into the brightest minds in the industry and have them compete to deliver the most innovative designs available.”
— Nancy Roellke, Unity Via Product Development Director
A team of professionals with industry-proven expertise is brought together to map out a course to develop one of the most innovative progressive lenses with unmatched ease of fitting, dispensing, and adaptation – a lens unlike anything else on the market.
“In order to achieve the type of groundbreaking advancements we were after, we assembled some of the brightest minds in ophthalmic lens design who were willing to challenge conventional optical engineering. This dream team not only accepted the challenge, but far exceeded our objectives with Unity Via designs.”
— Dave Delle Donne, VSP Optics Senior Vice President
Initial wearer trials, led by acclaimed lens designer, Michael Morris, OD, are conducted in anticipation of a Vision Expo West (VEW) 2016 launch. Improvements are achieved in ease of fitting and dispensing, but overall performance is only equal to existing Unity progressive designs. Unwilling to settle for anything but exceptional results, the team is not satisfied with the outcome. So, they go back to the drawing board, eyeing a launch at Vision Expo East (VEE) 2017.
“The goal wasn’t to just create ‘another’ progressive lens. It was to create something that redefined ECP and patient expectations of what a progressive lens could be. Simply put, good enough wasn’t good enough.”
— Randy Dannewitz, VSP Optics Senior Vice President
Following good but not extraordinary results in the first wearer trials, the team set back to work with a commitment to excellence intact and their sights set firmly on a product that would mark an evolution in progressive lens design.
“We were committed to beating the performance of leading progressives. So, the design team went back to work, convinced that what we learned in the first round of trials would lead to an even bigger leap in performance.”
— Michael Morris, OD, Lens Design and Clinical Trial Consultant
With the new design work complete, the second phase of clinical wearer trials begin. The outcome this time is nothing short of phenomenal, yielding an improvement over existing Unity progressive designs and an experience that rates 2 to 1 over the market-leading progressive lens at the time. Unity Via Progressive Lenses introduce technology that not only delivers superior performance, but also brings a level of simplicity never before seen in the industry. Easy to fit and dispense, easy to explain to patients, and exceptional patient experience with wide, clear vision and little to no adjustment period.
“When those clinical trial results came back, we were ecstatic. We obviously had our sights set on producing amazing results. But, it’s one thing to shoot for the stars. It’s another thing entirely when you hit the target dead center. I couldn’t wait for eye care professionals across the country to experience these lenses for themselves.”
— Don Oakley, VSP Optics President
A debut is needed to match the significance of these new lenses. What more fitting place than the “Big Apple?” Custom fittings are made available to Vision Expo East (VEE) attendees in the VSP Optics booth and the attendance is amazing. Over the three-day Expo, more than 100 personal fittings are performed. Everyone who receives a pair is asked to share their thoughts and the positivity of the feedback completely validates the trial findings.
"We often use tradeshows to launch new products and Vision Expo East provided the perfect platform to announce Unity Via. The energy of NYC spilled into our booth and created an unprecedented buzz as customers lined up for personal fittings and to learn more about the newest progressive lens in the Unity portfolio."
— Robyn Crimmins, VSP Optics Division Vice President Commercial Markets West
Within 12 months of launching, Unity Via Elite emerges as the most dispensed N-category progressive lens in the VSP Network.
“Unity Via Elite surpassing all other N-category designs so quickly is a great achievement for the portfolio. But, the most meaningful part about it is that it means so many people out there are enjoying all the advantages that a progressive lens like this provides.”
— Simrit Chahal, Unity Senior Product Manager
Only a few months after Unity Via Elite surpasses all other premium progressives, the entire portfolio follows suit, becoming the most widely dispensed progressive portfolio in the VSP network.
“If I’m being perfectly honest, topping every other progressive portfolio in the VSP network, including a lot that ECPs had relied on for years, was a surprise. We knew ECPs and patients would love the lenses when they tried them, but change is hard for a lot of people. So, climbing so high, so quickly was a remarkable feat.”
— Alan Burt, VSP Optics Vice President
The first annual Unity Via ECP Satisfaction Survey results are received with remarkable feedback. From ECP preference to patient satisfaction to ease of dispensing Unity Via Progressives earn top marks across the board.
“We couldn’t have been happier with the results of the survey. To score so well for ECP and patient satisfaction meant we were accomplishing what we set out to achieve in those initial days of conceptualization.”
— Kathy Smith, Unity Marketing Manager
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