Labs like Pech Optical have MEI lens processing equipment to handle the most challenging sunwear edging jobs.

Here’s a primer on what to look for in a sunwear lab.

As steeply curved sunwear becomes more appealing to both plano and Rx eyewear patients, the need to have it properly produced becomes increasingly more essential to eyecare offices. Without the correct equipment, lens designs, and processing, this eyewear can perform poorly both visually and functionally. So how do you find the perfect specialty sunwear lab?

Central Optical in Youngstown, OH, suggests interviewing the potential specialty sunwear lab you’re considering. Call the lab and ask to speak to the lab manager. Keep in mind they tend to be pretty busy so you may have to leave a message. But according to Central Optical, it’s well worth the time.
Here are a few questions to ask:

  1. Do you have specialized edging equipment for high-wrap eyewear as well as for eyewear that has unusual bevel or mounting configurations?
  2. Do you carry steeply curved lens products designed especially for high-wrap sunwear?
  3. Do you use free-form technology to design, surface, and compensate the lenses for the steep curvature and position-of-wear measurements?
  4. What is your average turnaround time for these types of eyewear lenses?
  5. What are your non-adapt policies regard­ing these lenses?
  6. What type of warranty does your company offer on these lenses?

Rite-Style Optical Co. in Omaha, NE, suggests knowing the limitations of the sunwear products you carry. Since there are going to be Rx

THE EQUIPMENT BEHIND HIGH-WRAP SUNWEAR About the size of a large commercial refrigerator, edger units like MEI machines are capable devices for producing high-wrap sunwear. Unlike the edger in your office, these machines use cutter and milling tools, shaping tools, and other strategies to produce straight and inclined bevels, notches, cuts, T bevels, and more for high-quality wrap sunwear.

limitations for every wrap sunwear model you carry and other kinds of restrictions on traditional sunwear frames, you have to know what the product can and cannot accommodate.

Labs like Rite-Style, Pech Optical Corp. (Sioux City, IA), Luzerne Optical Laboratories, Ltd. (Wilkes-Barre, PA), and Central Optical have MEI lens processing equipment or similar equipment that can handle the most challenging sunwear edging jobs. These sophisticated “edgers” (more like routers or milling machines) are computer controlled and can perform some amazing bevel configurations, notching, grooving, etc. This kind of equipment in a specialty sunwear lab is a definite plus.

What should you expect from a good specialty sunwear lab? Quality. The finished products you receive should be well produced with good clean bevel edges and compensated lens thinning when necessary to keep temporal and nasal edge thickness down. Communication is also important, as these types of lenses inherently are more difficult to produce. Your specialty lab should contact you to keep you informed about the status of jobs. Your job is then to keep your customer informed of the status of their order.

As you interview a potential lab, ask yourself these questions: Do they sound knowledgeable? Do you feel you will receive good customer service based on how your “interview” was received? Did they answer your questions completely and do you feel they can do your jobs consistently well? If the answers to these questions are “yes,” give the lab a trial period. If they meet your expectations after 10 jobs, you’ve found yourself a good specialty sunwear lab.

Finding a good special sunwear lab is not difficult—it just takes a little time and research.

Nikki DiBacco is the owner of DnD Consulting & Design, as well as a writer and educator in Panama City, FL.

Central Optical
800-322-6678 •

Luzerne Optical Laboratories, Ltd.
800-233-9637 •

Pech Optical Corp.
800-831-2352 •

Rite-Style Optical Co.
800-373-3200 •


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