With the right equipment, a lab management system and lens design software, ECPs can offer patients proprietary, high-quality digital free-form lenses at a fraction of the price.
The ability to customize lenses to patients’ needs was the driving force behind Kevin Baab’s decision to make lenses in-house. By purchasing the necessary equipment, along with a lab management system and lens design software, Baab Opticians in Mountain Top, PA, can now give patients what they need and want in a lens without having to order them.“We sit down with patients and explain to them how lenses are made currently and just how accurate the calibration is,” said Baab, vice president and secretary of Baab Opticians, which is owned by his father John and was founded in the early 1970s by his grandfather, George. “We talk about their wants and needs, whether they’ve worn a progressive before and how to prioritize their needs.”
Since last September, Baab Opticians has used lens design software from IOT America, Optivision’s lab management system and the Nano line from Schneider Optical Machines (blocker, generator and polisher), and no longer sends out jobs for quicker turnaround times and truly personalized products.
IOT’s catalogue includes 28 individual lens designs in five families, allowing ECPs to meet their own needs: from dual-sided designs with Camber technology to specialty lenses such as the company’s own inMotion driving lens. IOT also offers backside digital bifocals and an anti-fatigue lens design.
“Every customer’s laboratory is different in terms of equipment, size, layout, processes and preferences,” said Marcos Garcia, director of technical services at IOT America. “Our Free-Form Designer software is extremely flexible, so we can adapt to each customer’s specific situation rather than forcing laboratories to adapt their processes to us.”
Daniel Crespo, president of IOT America, said, “There are no pre-defined structures or package solutions. We work as a partner to our customers with a high level of involvement.”
Lens design software from Crossbows Optical offers ECPs its products as “white label products, often under a laboratory’s own branding,” said Trevor Steele, managing director of Crossbows. “This gives the ECP the ability to dispense very high quality designs at significantly lower costs than the top branded designs.”
Crossbows Optical offers three levels of customization in progressive lens designs plus lifestyle designs, “bigressives,” blended bifocals and single vision lenses.
“Our designs can offer many sophisticated features such as ray-tracing optimization, prescription compensation and edge blending for reduced thicknesses,” Steele added. “It also gives the ECP access to more basic designs at very competitive pricing.”
Buenos Aires, Argentina-based Opulens offers Novar Freeform Designer software, giving ECPs the opportunity to create their own lenses with the company’s technology: either with their own private label lenses or by participating in a laboratory group to create a global trademark. With Novar software, ECPs have access to all lens designs, including progressives for specialty use in the office to the outdoors and while driving.
Augen Optics’ EasyForm is an integrated, digital free-form system in a package: a digital surfacing generator, speed blocker and polisher, plus a laser engraving system and Augen’s lens design software.
The software designs Augen high definition lenses with aspheric/double aspheric technology. Free-form progressives include Augen’s HDRx Trinity 13/17 for general wear, HDRx Trinity 8/12 for small frames and HDRx Trinity Spacia for outdoor activities and technology and digital device use. HD single vision aspheric/double aspheric lenses can also be produced, and all lens designs are compatible with most materials, treatments and coatings.
QLDS, which is working with software development company Softlinker, is set to launch a digital bifocal lens design later this summer, said Robin Cassidy, QLDS president.
According to Cassidy, there’s a “huge market” for digital bifocals in South America and Europe, and QLDS is working with several lab management systems to become fully integrated with them.
“We wanted to target the bifocal market because of the increased use of digital devices and eye strain,” she said. “There hasn’t been a good bifocal digital lens out there.”
Currently undergoing testing, QLDS will offer lenses with both wider and more narrow segments, and as long as an independent ECP has a lab management system, they can use the software.
“It would definitely benefit them,” Cassidy said. “They could probably do 30 jobs per day and at a smaller price point because they’ll be producing a digital bifocal off a single vision lens.”
Augen Optics 866.284.3611 AugenOptics.com Crossbows Optical +44 (0)28 3832 2301 CrossbowsOptical.com
General@CrossbowsOptical.com IOT America 877.414.7809 IOTAmerica.com Novar Novar-Tech.com Info@Novar-Tech.com QLDS 727.755.0305 Robin.Cassidy@qlds.co Schneider Optical Machines 972.247.4000 Schneider-om.com