Central’s staff often get questions about whether free-form technology can produce thinner, mirrored, or polarized lenses.
Central Optical’s staff is readily available to answer questions from ECPs about free-form technology.
Free-form lenses have been available for several years now, but many eyecare professionals (ECPs) are still confused about their features and benefits and how they are made. To find out what kind of questions ECPs frequently ask their labs, I contacted Central Optical.

Tom Kilonski is the Director of Education at Central Optical in Youngstown, OH, and he answers a lot of questions for customers. When ECPs ask him about free-form lenses, he begins to educate them by helping them understand the difference between the terms “digital” and “free-form.” He explains that where traditional surfacing produces lenses with corrected backside curves to within 1/8th of a diopter, “digital” refers to the process of surfacing lenses with backside curves to within 1/100th of a diopter. Then he explains that free-form lenses are the result of the digital surfacing process.

This often leads to questions about the equipment used to process free-form lenses. “Software, generators, and polishers account for the difference between free-form and traditionally produced lenses,” explained Kilonski. “Lab tours are the best way to show the difference in lens production and the resulting lens quality, but I also will educate ECPs in their offices using PowerPoint presentations and lens samples,” he added. Kilonski also says the abundance of technical information can be so overwhelming for the ECP that he uses examples of free-form lenses digitally produced in his lab.

iCentauri has five progressive lens designs, each with unique distance, intermediate, and near zone features.

Kilonski enjoys talking about Central Optical’s family of free-form lenses called iCentauri. It has five progressive lens designs, each with unique distance, intermediate, and near zone features. “Lifestyle dispensing is changing, and there are more options the ECP can offer to his patients to personalize their lenses,” Kilonski continued. iCentauri free-form lenses have compensated lens powers, curvatures, and thickness, and they have no maximum fitting height. These lenses come with a choice in corridor lengths to accommodate frame size and the patient’s visual requirements. Normally in a progressive, the full reading power is only 5mm high, with the rest being intermediate power. Using a shorter corridor will raise the height of the full reading power.


“Using short corridor lenses to raise the reading zone seems to be the biggest challenge for most ECPs,” Kilonski said. He recommends starting with a corridor length 2mm less than the fitting height, which gets the wearer into the full reading power sooner than if he were wearing a standard progressive, then adjusting the corridor length according to the wearer’s needs.

Kilonski mentioned that he gets questions about whether free-form technology can produce thinner lenses; whether the lenses can be polarized, mirrored, or come with an anti-reflective treatment; if they can be made into computer lenses; or if they can be used with frames with a lot of facial wrap.

Free-form is the lens technology of the future. Partnering with a lab like Central Optical which has people who can answer free-form questions ensures that you provide the best and the latest in lenses.

Dee Carew is a licensed optician and optometric tech at Maumee Center for Eye Care in Maumee, OH.


Central Optical
800-905-2240 ext. 2088 | centraloptical.com


Leave A Reply