1997: The world’s first back surface progressive lens

Technology that spread throughout the world in response to the needs of the progressive lens market. The world’s first “Back surface progressive lens”

The desire to start a new movement

During the period 1993 - 94, debate was ongoing in various departments and divisions of SEIKO regarding the development of a new progressive lens.

As the leader in progressive lenses not only in Japan, but throughout the world, SEIKO wanted to develop a product that would spark a new movement. Up to this point in time, progressive lenses made use of the front surface progressive design that featured a progressive design on the front surface and an astigmatic corrective design on the back surface.
SEIKO wondered if bringing the progressive surface closer to the eyes would widen the field of vision and reduce distortion and blurring.

SEIKO believed that successful achievement of this design would provide senior users with greater comfort of vision.


Decision to tackle the challenge of developing unknown technologies

Provision of the progressive design on the back surface.

No-one in the world had ever attempted to fuse the progressive and astigmatic corrective designs on the back surface of a lens.
Commercialization of such a lens would be impossible unless technologies could be established based on completely new concepts on all fronts including design, production, assessment and systems.

SEIKO resolved to tackle the challenge of developing these new technologies.


First step: Tackling the development of processing devices

The existing technology at the time was incapable of processing unrestricted delicate curvature design on the back surface.
To address this problem, SEIKO embarked on a nationwide search for machine manufacturers capable of producing the necessary equipment and succeeded in finding manufacturers capable of meeting the requirements, resulting in the development of processing machines capable of delicate back surface machining.

The next step was to start on development of a design that would achieve optimization at the same time as producing both astigmatic corrective and progressive designs on a single surface.


3 years to achieve the impossible

Because the new lens concept differed completely to the existing design with the progressive function on the front surface and the astigmatic corrective function on the back surface, at first, development of a design that would realize the required optical performance proved impossible. Moreover, because the existing prototype assessment mechanism was intended for the front surface progressive design lens, a new method of assessment had to be formulated.

After a seemingly endless period of producing and assessing prototypes, commercialization finally became a viable possibility in 1997.

This project that involved the entire development division working together as one had taken 3 years.


1997: Commercialization of “Super P-1,” the world’s first back surface progressive lens

The launch of the newly-developed back surface progressive lens featuring both the progressive function and the astigmatic corrective function on the back surface, elicited a huge response from users that exceeded the expectations of the development team.

The new lens was welcomed with countless expressions of joy such as "Although I've never been able to get used to progressive lenses, at last, here's a lens that I can use!" and "Finally, I can wear my glasses for prolonged periods of time and enjoy a feeling of natural vision!" Through the development of this product, SEIKO created a new trend on the progressive lens market, and was able to take pride in its contribution to vision care for senior users.

At the present time, back surface progressive technology has spread not only in Japan, but around the globe and has become a pillar of the progressive lens market.

SEIKO has created a series comprising numerous products that make use of back surface progressive design.
"Super P-1" is the symbol of back surface progressive design, and has evolved into "Super P-1 <Neo>," a custom-made back surface progressive lens series that allows selection from 5.74 billion designs to match lifestyles and purposes of usage.

Moreover, SEIKO launched "Superior P1," the ultimate back surface progressive lens in 2009.
"Superior P1" is the ultimate tailor-made multifocal lens that allows customers to select the ideal lens from an almost infinite range of types to match their individual needs.