Dr. Philipp Jester

Dr. Philipp Jester is Head of Global Technology and Innovation - Process Development and understands the science behind a good lens design. He knows everything about how glasses work and the latest technological innovations. He can answer questions such as: where innovations are to be expected, how does a lens work and why do self-tinting lenses turn dark outside.

  • The answer to whether there's still room for real innovation in the field of eyeglass lenses.

  • This is how the price for eyeglass lenses is set.

  • How photochromic lenses work.

  • The answer whether I can use photochromic lenses as a substitute for sunglasses

  • I can use photochromic lenses in the car when driving

  • Have eyeglass lenses reached a point of no further development?

    Visual aids have been around for a long time. About 100 years ago, it was postulated that lenses have been fully optimized and there would be no more innovations possible. At least with the introduction of progressive lenses in freeform technology nearly 20 years ago, it was possible to offer lenses that are easy to adapt to.
    Nevertheless, there is still plenty of room for innovation today: 

    • new materials
    • new coating methods
    • new processes
    • more precise measuring technology at the eye care professional
    • changing fashion: larger frames, smaller frames
    • differently habits: different reading distances
  • How is the price of eyeglass lenses set?

    First of all, there is a difference between a stock lens and individual prescription lenses.

    • Stock lenses are finished lenses that can be taken off the shelf for an order, prescription lenses are individually manufactured to the specific needs of the eyeglass wearer. The lenses are then custom-made for a particular order.
    • In addition, it also makes a difference whether you order cheap glasses on the Internet or go to the eye care professional around the corner.
    • For premium eyeglasses you pay not only the frame and the lenses, but also the eye care professional, the measurement with precise equipment, the material, the manufacturing of the lens, and research and development. All in all, you pay for years of good and healthy vision.
  • How do self-tinting lenses work?

    In nature, some minerals change color – in particular become darker – when exposed to light. We apply the same principle to self-tinting lenses. These have been around since the 1960s and react to UV radiation. When exposed to sunlight, the eyeglass lenses turn dark. Molecules in the material change under UV radiation and then absorb visible light. This process is reversible. This means that the lenses become clear again as soon as the UV radiation is no longer present. When I walk out of a building into the sunlight, the eyeglass lenses become dark. As soon as I return to the building, the lenses must become clear again to see well indoors. Due to intensive research, it is now possible that photochromic eyeglass lenses not only darken fast, but also fade back to the clear state again more quickly.

  • Can I use photochromic lenses as a substitute for sunglasses?

    For general use, yes.

    If I wear my eyeglasses a lot indoors and outdoors - both during the day and in the evening or at night - then self-tinting lenses provide good visual comfort with adequate glare protection.

  • Do photochromic lenses work in the car?

    Self-tinting lenses react to UV radiation. But behind a windshield or even window glass, the amount of UV radiation is often no longer sufficient to darken the lens. For this reason, it’s recommended to have a suitable pair of sunglasses to make driving safe and relaxed, especially on longer trips.

Portrait Maria Conrad
Press Contact Maria Conrad International PR: Eyeglass Lenses, Coatings and Materials

ZEISS Vision Care