Transitions GEN S -
A New Milestone
in Visual

In the Canadian optical industry, April 9, 2024 marks an important event: the launch of the brand-new Transitions GEN S range. "Speed", "Smart" and "Style" are the three pillars of this generation of photochromic lenses, the precursors of new discoveries on the role of light modulation in improving visual performance. Anne-Catherine Scherlen, Associate Director of Technical Marketing at Transitions, and Arnaud Rajchenbach, Head of Marketing and Sales at Transitions, talk to

Interview by Sarah Ousaid

Transitions GEN S is your latest innovation. Tell us about its development!

Anne-Catherine Scherlen :

It's a great story to tell, because it shows that we're constantly learning from technology, science and feedback from our wearers. Let me explain: the Transitions GEN S lens was born out of what we had learned from our previous generations, where we already had a lens that activated in the presence of light, with the main goal of continuously offering good protection against light. But most wearers said they could see better too. So we set about studying the literature, researching and experimenting for several years, to understand the role that light modulation can have on the quality of vision.

As an optometrist, our ultimate goal is to offer the best quality of vision through a corrective lens, which focuses the image on the retina and gives a clear image, a 10/10 visual acuity.

We also know that when there is too much light, too little light or variations from high to low intensity, the retina must adapt to these changes to maintain optimal performance. During this adaptation period, optimal vision quality is not maintained.

To meet the eye's physiological needs and ensure good synchronization of light levels and vision quality, it was important to provide the eye with an appropriate dose of light to avoid over-adaptation, and to guarantee stable, continuous vision.

This is why we have worked on lens activation and deactivation speeds that will be synchronized with the eye's needs, which is the richness and subtlety of this technology.

Arnaud Rajchenbach :

It's been several years since various generations of Transitions lenses have been launched, all of them distinguished by their innovations. The eighth, launched in 2019, gave way to our brand-new GEN S in April 2024. We chose the name GEN S for its three pillars: Speed for the speed with which the lenses can be activated and deactivated, Smart for the product's intelligence, which adapts to the user's needs and also helps to improve the quality of vision and restore faster vision in difficult lighting situations (glare, light variations), and Style for the eight colours that complete the Transitions color wheel.

Five years have passed between the introduction of the previous generation and the new Transitions GEN S. What accounts for this period?

Anne-Catherine Scherlen :

We've been working on this technology for over five years. Although this may seem a long time (smile), the process has been swift. We produced several thousand prototypes to validate the robustness of the procedure: change of pigment formulation and matrix to ensure that the dynamics of these pigments are adapted to the desired speed, reworking of the lens components to break with previous generations, study of aging over time... precisely to achieve the desired level of demand and ensure the best quality for our wearers!

From a purely medical point of view, have there also been any studies on the preventive aspect of GEN S lenses over the past five years?

Anne-Catherine Scherlen :

This is a very good question, since with GEN S, we are opening up a new way of understanding the role of this dynamic lens in prescription and prevention. It's easy to study the effect of a lens at a given point in time, but assessing its long-term impact requires larger-scale longitudinal studies. It was important for us to be able to consolidate the scientific and clinical evidence of the benefits of Gen S on day-to-day visual performance. The use of dynamic lenses naturally offers new perspectives on the management of other visual or non-visual functions and opens up new perspectives on the impact of light modulation on the prevention of visual impairment.

Arnaud Rajchenbach :

There are many eye diseases linked to light and UV exposure, but not exclusively. Age can also be a factor. The advantage of our product is that it blocks 100% of UV rays, and filters blue violet light both indoors when the lens is not activated, and outdoors as soon as the lens is activated. It therefore brings this dimension of protection and anticipation of possible visual problems. Obviously, the medical benefits can be studied in greater depth over the next few years, but we already have some indications.

What are the key performances of this new range of lenses?

Anne-Catherine Scherlen :

We always listen to our patients to understand their day-to-day discomforts, because it's essential that the product responds to a need. But as we acquire more and more scientific knowledge, we wanted to prove scientifically and clinically that GEN S lenses significantly improve visual performance in difficult light conditions. We collaborated with two world-renowned research teams, led by Professor Artal from the University of Murcia in Spain and Professor Hammond from the University of Georgia, to carry out randomized clinical studies to quantify the benefit of Transitions GEN S on visual performance. We can now confirm that Transitions GEN S improves

• Over 40% faster recovery time in glare situations; (1)
• Over 39% vision recovery time when moving from outside to inside; (2)
• And by 40% the perception of contrast sensitivity when the lens clears in the first minute. (2)

Clinical studies have shown that this is a product endowed with a very fine technology, taking us into a new era of dynamic lenses that manage light in such a way as to provide a good dose of it to the eye, so as to be able to maintain visual performance in everyday life.

We are planning several scientific publications to help professionals promote it, and also to participate in the development of the scientific community's knowledge in this field.

(1) Randomized controlled study with subject masking conducted on 30 healthy participants (19.2 ± 1.3 years), 2023. Light stress test with Transitions® GEN S™ lenses compared with clear control lenses.

(2) Randomized controlled study with subject masking, on 10 pre-trained healthy participants (29.5 ± 4.01 years), 2023. Testing contrast sensitivity during return to clear with Transitions® GEN S™ lenses compared with Transitions® Signature® Gen 8 lenses.

Can you tell us more about your "Advanced Symbiotic Technology"?

Anne-Catherine Scherlen :

We were looking for a good symbiosis between the speed of lens activation and the amount of light required by the eye. To this end, we used pigments that are much more energy-rich to go faster, but we also developed a much more flexible matrix that allows these pigments to move much more quickly depending on the state of activation. The aim is to guarantee the right speed to meet the eye's physiological needs.

We also worked on the choice of pigments to achieve eight spectacular colours, enabling patients to have the right colour for their activity and style. What's more, we took care to rework the formulation of the eight colours to guarantee consistent quality: when activated, they remain the same, whatever the level of activation. A colour is made up of three to five pigments. When one goes faster than the other, it affects the final colour. With consistent colour quality regardless of activation level, we preserve both the wearer's style and vision.

This brings to mind the new ruby colour offered with Transitions GEN S lenses. Why this choice?

Arnaud Rajchenbach :

We already had seven fairly complementary colours, but our palette was missing a red that leans more towards ruby. With ruby, our chromatic circle of eight colours is complete, allowing us to combine a Transitions GEN S lens with virtually any frame colour on the market.

We're moving more and more towards the fashion aspect to engage the consumer in a discussion about customizing equipment. I think the ruby colour will be more feminine, and we're already seeing that in the Canadian market with sales since the April launch. This colour will undoubtedly appeal to a younger clientele too. Incidentally, a new collection of frames containing Transitions photochromic pigments will soon be released in the United States and Canada: these are frames whose temples and front are clear on the inside, but which become coloured with the appearance of patterns as soon as they are exposed to UV light.

You mention the women's and youth segments. Who are GEN S lenses primarily intended for?

Arnaud Rajchenbach :

My answer is simple: to everyone! In our daily lives, we're all exposed to varying degrees of light, both indoors and out. Transitions lenses are the solution for quality of vision and light protection at all times...without compromising on Style.

We want to convince our business partners, the eyecare professionals, that a clear lens is rudimentary because it is static and gives no advantage, apart from the prescription of correction, but none in terms of adaptation to the luminous universe in which we evolve.

Anne-Catherine Scherlen :

GEN S is indeed designed for all patients. We go to the optometrist because we are myopic, hypermetropic or presbyopic. The examination is carried out to obtain an ideal visual acuity of 10/10, for a given light condition in the eye examination room, on a high-contrast acuity scale (black letter on a white background). But this is not the reality for wearers, who live in a multitude of light conditions and in an environment with variable contrasts. Today's objective with GEN S is therefore to maintain the visual performance obtained in the eye examination room, whatever the wearer's lighting conditions. It should be noted that our studies aimed at demonstrating improved vision were carried out on young people aged between 27 and 30. These are very difficult profiles to evaluate, as they have very high-performance eyes. It was found that even this wearer profile is fragile in terms of vision in bright light, and can lose vision quality... GEN S is a first-choice solution to complement the correction provided by the optometrist, since this lens not only protects, but also contributes to the prescription.

In terms of communication and marketing, what efforts are being made to raise consumer awareness?

Arnaud Rajchenbach :

We have two approaches. Our products are available from eye care professionals, who recommend them to patients. Our job is to inform them about new technologies and their benefits. At the same time, we run information campaigns when new products are launched, to educate consumers and close the loop. In this way, consumers who are aware of our messages, which are sometimes relayed by professionals on their own digital platforms, find themselves at the professional's office, where the two of them can discuss the Transitions solution.

How do you see the photochromic lens market evolving in the wake of these communication efforts aimed at both eyecare professionals and wearers?

Arnaud Rajchenbach :

In Canada, we have a penetration rate of 16%, leaving plenty of room for growth among all eyecare professionals. Moreover, there is a "satisfied or exchanged" guarantee that professionals can offer their patients. We realize from talking to our partners that the return rate is very low, so low that we strongly recommend mentioning this guarantee to reassure patients who may hesitate.

Canada is a very dynamic and proactive market, especially Quebec and Ontario. So, we try to adapt to the diversity of Canada, which is made up of all kinds of cultures with very different relationships to UV protection. In particular, this means supporting eyecare professionals, who come into contact with populations less inclined to use visual protection.

We met several times with Canadian eyecare professionals from different cultures to produce an Inclusive Guide that explains how best to interact and adapt to the patients in front of us.

Of course, there will always be clear lens diehards and, more generally, patients for whom new technologies are less attractive, but ultimately, the professionals' aim is to ensure that patients leave with the best solution for their needs. If it turns out to be a Transitions lens, preferred by nine out of 10 patients, great! But for some, it will be a pair of clear lenses, a solar clip, a solar lens with a fixed tint, a polarized or non-polarized solar lens - it's all up to the office. Wearers who prefer Transitions lenses reveal an interesting potential, but it's the eyecare professionals who listen to the patient's needs and assess the best solution to recommend.

Our mission is to offer the best products for protection and to help all spectacle wearers see the world better.

To conclude, would you like to say a few words about your future projects?

Arnaud Rajchenbach :

The Transitions story began at PPG, an American company specializing in colour pigments which, by extension, came to develop photochromic pigmentation. As we've seen over the past 34 years, Transitions has developed its product in a remarkable yet progressive way.

I wouldn't say we'll have a new generation in five years' time, but Transitions won't stop there! We'll probably be moving towards additional colours at the request of certain patients for ranges such as polarized lenses available only in gray, depending on the market.

What's certain is that our R&D team is already working on product evolution!

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