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The serendipity of Sensity


Photochromic lenses have been a constant conundrum for optics. On one level they offer the opportunity to a wearer of a single lens that will cope with all light conditions but speed of darkening and fadeback have always been an issue. A quick trawl of the internet shows users’ experiences are not always good while practitioners’ attitudes are mixed.

Transitions has become a byword for photochromic lenses in recent years. Most of the main lens casters have rallied behind the brand offering their own flavours of the variable tint technology. Transitions is still available to other casters, but it is now firmly in the Essilor fold and the first competitors have started to arrive.

Hoya has been in the photochromic lens business since 1969, so it is perhaps not surprising that it has quickly launched a new product following Transitions’ absorption by Essilor. Hoya’s managing director describes the launch of Sensity as timely. He says that while the timing may be coincidental to the Transitions deal, Hoya offers a new take on photochromics.

Sensity is the fourth product resulting from Hoya’s Innovision product development platform. This process looks at visual perception, visual experience, digital verification and human behaviour as the four founding principles of product development. Through this process Hoya has developed Stabilight Technology which, it claims, allows the lens to darken to a category 3 sunlens, and back, in a consistent time. Comparisons with Hoya’s current Suntech Intense product show a 20 per cent reduction in the sensitivity to temperature. Innovision has also brought about reformulated colours which it claims have a more natural hue. Sensity comes in brown and a silver grey.

Photochromic Precision Technology is the name given to Hoya’s photochromic layer. This is a front surface, spin-coating treatment using a proprietary dye which offers a durable, anti-reflective photochromic coating. The photochromic technology can be used with Hoya’s wide range of freeform, progressives, single vision and bifocals. The coating can also be used with Hoya’s other surface treatment such as Blue Control and UV Control.