IN MOTION Topcon FR-5000

FRAME IT Santinelli’s LT-980
TRACE OF BASE Topcon’s FR-5000
by Optek International

As remote tracers become increasingly more sophisticated, it’s important to know which technology will suit your practice’s needs.

Remote tracers, also known as lens measuring units (LMUs), enable a practice to precisely measure a frame’s eyewire shape or lens shape, then send that data to an on-site edger or a remote lab without also sending the frame. Several vision care plans are now promoting the use of tracers. Accuracy is king in the fabrication world; even +/- 0.5mm too small can seem like the Grand Canyon in a full-rimmed frame! So what makes tracers tick? And what should you look for in one of these units?

Any “D” rating above 3 means that in addition to the lens shape and circumference, the tracer also includes measurements for things like the relationship between the stylus placement and frame thickness, and the angle of the V bezel (the frame’s groove). The added “D” is often manufacturer-specific. For example, Briot USA cites frame thickness as its 4th dimension.

More tracers can read high-base curve frames (like wrap sunglasses), such as Santinelli International, Inc.’s LT-1200/LT-980 and the Topcon FR-5000 (offered by Optek International). The higher the base curve capability, the more highly profitable work you can process in-house. When the tracer recognizes the frame base curve, it makes subtle adjustments to the bevel placement for better lens insertion and retention.

Any tool is only as good as its care and maintenance allow it to be. Several manufacturers mention the importance of a good stylus. Some companies, like Santinelli and Briot, have changed their stylus designs. Santinelli, in particular, has changed its stylus to a fulcrum-based design made of tungsten steel. Proper care of a unit assures a long life and reliably accurate results. It should be part of your daily lab procedure to calibrate the tracer against the provided template.

PFO Global’s addition to the tracer market has replaced the stylus with a laser. The company’s eyeX3 laser-based tracer greatly reduces the number of moving parts in the machine, so there’s no physical contact between “the stylus” and the frame and, therefore, no chance of a mechanical stylus hitting the frame or jumping out of a slightly worn eyewire. The eyeX3 includes a cloud-based file-sharing system and an automatic recalibration function.

Traveling into other dimensions isn’t science-fiction fantasy anymore. It has never been more functional or profitable—and now you can do it with your tracer!

How to Avoid Tracing Errors

• When reusing the patient’s own frame, always clean the eyewire bezel before tracing

• Learn how to set your tracer for manual stylus placement if it is available

• Center the frame as best you can before tracing

• Learn how to trace semi-rimless and full rimless eyewear

• Don’t forget to tighten screws before tracing

John Seegers is a licensed optician at Ryan Vision Center in Henrico, VA, and the creator of


Briot USA 800-292-7468 •

Optek International 727-522-2301 •

PFO Global 866-996-7849 •

Santinelli International, Inc. 800-644-3343 •


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