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  CHERYL LADD EDUCATES CONSUMERS ABOUT TOP HEALTH CONCERN 
  DURING PRESBYOPIA AWARENESS MONTH

Varilux Boomer Watch(tm) Survey Finds 66 Percent of Boomers Concerned About Changing Vision DALLAS, Texas (April 1, 2001) - April is Presbyopia Awareness Month and former Charlie's Angel Cheryl Ladd is teaming up with Varilux® progressive lenses to educate baby boomers across the country about this extremely common eye condition that affects over 100 million adults. Presbyopia (pronounced PREZ-bee-OH-pee-uh) is the diminishing ability to focus on objects close-up and many boomers in their 40s and 50s, like Ladd, are beginning to notice its telltale signs. When Ladd was working on a TV sitcom last year, she noticed that the words on the script seemed fuzzy and unreadable. She found she couldn't hold the pages far enough away from her face to bring the print in focus, and after several similar experiences with menus and newspapers, she decided it was time to visit her eye doctor. "My eye doctor explained to me that eventually, everybody gets presbyopia - it's inevitable," said Ladd. "My whole generation is experiencing the signs of this eye condition, but most don't know what is happening to them. You can't prevent presbyopia and you can't reverse it, but with the technology available today, there's no reason this condition should come between you and the lifestyle you're used to." REDUCED VISION A TOP BOOMER HEALTH CONCERN Just how concerned are baby boomers about presbyopia? Sixty-six percent of baby boomers cited reduced vision as a top health concern (second only to heart disease) in the first annual Boomer Watch(tm) survey, sponsored by progressive eyeglass lens manufacturer Varilux. The nationwide survey queried more than 1,000 boomers to offer an in-depth look at how boomers see the world. And while 71 percent of older boomers (ages 46 to 55) and 41 percent of younger boomers (ages 37 to 45) said that changing vision has impacted some of their activities, more than 75 percent of all boomers surveyed said they are not familiar with the condition called presbyopia. "Baby boomers are in denial - they remember when their parents started having difficulty reading and they can't believe its happening to them," said optometrist Dr. Rodney Tahran. "Their parents turned to reading glasses or bifocals and, for many boomers, the thought of these vanity-crushing alternatives prevents them from seeking a more advanced treatment option from an eye care practitioner." A BOOMER WATCH DISCOVERY - THE LASER SURGERY MISCONCEPTION Another key Varilux Boomer Watch finding revealed that more than 56 percent of boomers surveyed said they would consider having laser eye surgery. Many people believe that any eye condition can be cured with the aid of surgery, but despite many advances in medical science, presbyopia is still unavoidable. Currently, there is no approved surgical alternative to correct or prevent presbyopia. "Whether or not you've had eye surgery in the past, ultimately, the gradual affects of presbyopia will set in and you will need corrective eyewear by your mid-forties," said Dr. Tahran. FOCUSING ON A SOLUTION FOR PRESBYOPIA Although surgery is not a solution for presbyopia, it can be corrected with proper diagnosis and corrective lenses. In the past, presbyopes relied on vanity-crushing bifocals or reading glasses, but Dr. Tahran says that progressive lenses are becoming a more popular alternative. Progressive lenses offer wearers one continuous field of vision to see clearly at all distances. And, according to Varilux Boomer Watch, more than half of boomers surveyed said they would consider trying progressive lenses to help correct their changing vision. "Today's active boomers demand a solution that won't compromise their life or their look," said Ladd. "With Varilux progressive lenses, I never have to take my glasses off and I can see near, far and everything in between with just one pair of lenses. And my glasses don't have the conspicuous bifocal line or the annoying 'jumps' in vision." "Baby boomers have very high standards for healthcare and they spend time investigating the options available," said Cynthia Lee-Ryden of Varilux. "With our current patent protection, technologically no other solution for presbyopia comes close to Varilux." Prevent Blindness America supports and educates on the value of a continuum of vision are including visiting an eye care practitioner for regular check-ups. To locate an eye care practitioner in your area or for more information about presbyopia, visit varilux.com. ESSILOR OF AMERICA Essilor of America, Inc. (Essilor) is a subsidiary of Paris-based Essilor International, S.A., a publicly held company traded on the Bourse (Symbol: ESI). Essilor is the leading manufacturer of optical lenses in the U.S. An industry pioneer in the development and production of ophthalmic lenses, Essilor is the market leader in progressive, high-index and anti-reflective coated lenses. The company manufacturers optical lenses under the Varilux®, Crizal®, Airwear® and Essilor brand names. # # # Varilux*, Panamic®, Crizal* and Airwear® are registered trademarks of Essilor International, S.A. Varilux Boomer Watch(tm) is a trademark of Essilor of America, Inc.

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