Varilux History

From ophthalmic optics research to the birth of Varilux lenses

The Varilux® brand was the dream of an exceptional man: Bernard Maitenaz. In the 1950’s, when trying on his father's flat-top bifocals, Bernard Maitenaz decided that the concept required some rethinking. As a 25-year-old engineer, he took on the challenge of creating a lens that would allow people to see from any distance: the progressive lens.

On March 2nd, 1951, Bernard Maitenaz filed a Soleau envelope at the National Institute of Industrial Property in France to officially register the date Varilux lenses were invented.

The invention of progressive lenses represents a revolution for presbyopes!

Gone are the days of multiple eyeglasses, thick lenses and bifocals, which split the lens in two to correct distance vision and near vision. Fifty years later, Varilux lenses have changed the lives of hundreds of millions of presbyopes and revolutionized the world of ophthalmic optics!


Varilux key dates

Evolving towards a progressive lens that adapts to visual behavior

1959: Birth of the first progressive lens. The Varilux lens provides comfortable vision at any distance.

1972: Launch of Varilux2, the Mono Design progressive lens. Considerably improved, it offers enhanced visual comfort.

1988: Launch of the first Multi Design progressive lens. A fundamental innovation, this lens preserves the width of the near visual field and takes the evolution of the wearer's presbyopia into account.

1993: Launch of Varilux Comfort®. This lens adapts to visual behavior and the wide near field of vision.

2000: Launch of Varilux Panamic lenses, whose performance is based on Global Design Management, a technology that ensures perfect management of central, peripheral and binocular vision parameters. Varilux Panamic offers enlarged fields of vision, perfect adherence to the wearer’s visual behavior, and record adaptation times.

2006: Launch of the Varilux Physio® progressive lens. Through the use of W.A.V.E. Technology™: Wavefront Advanced Vision Enhancement, the Varilux Physio family ushers in a new era of sharper vision at every distance for presbyopes.

2008: Launch of Varilux Ipseo IV™ - With this lens, Varilux adopts high fashion methods: Varilux Ipseo IV lenses are custom-made and adapted to the each person's visual behavior. This innovation is made possible by using virtual reality technologies.

2010: Launch of Varilux Comfort re-designed - As the leading brand in the ophthalmic market, Varilux continuously explores the world of presbyopia and keeps innovating to provide natural vision to all wearers. This innovation relies on Essilor research & design’s unique 4 steps program known as Live Optics®.

2012: Launch of Varilux S Series™ lenses – Through Varilux S Series lenses Essilor delivers another revolution in progressive lenses to the market. Varilux S Series is the first line of digital progressive lenses that provides a real breakthrough in patient experience for both first-time and experienced progressive lens wearers. Ranked #1 on every lens feature by real patients in independent studies, Varilux S Series is undeniably in a class of its own when it comes to addressing issues like swim, motion stability, expansive vision and personalization.

Today: Varilux continues on the path of innovation. We are constantly working to bring the best and most technologically advanced lenses to the market!