Despite the advancements in technology, there are still low-tech devices that ECPs use.

Even though digital is everywhere these days, sometimes you just can’t beat using a low-tech device that can do the job accurately and efficiently with a minimum of fuss. While the definition of what a low-tech device is can vary, it’s generally a product that is battery-operated, trustworthy, and used regularly in an ECP’s practice. Here’s a sample of what some companies have recently introduced on the low-tech front.

Brain Power, Inc. (BPI) has the BPI Mini ID Tech™, an affordable, portable, and battery-operated machine used for lens inspection and to identify progressive lens markings. The majority of progressive lens manufacturers employ laser-etched molds to help ECPs identify the manufacturer, lens style, and add power of the lens. The BPI Mini ID Tech uses a multi-LED light source with a Foucault knife edge pattern for improved viewing of those molds.

The company has a complete range of hand tools and simple measurement devices for lens thickness, base curve verification, and inspection. DAC’s Opti-Speed Circumference device, for example, verifies the size of a lens.

DAC’s Ball Tipped Lens Clock provides precise curvature measurements on glass and plastic lenses from 0.00D to +/-20.00D. Its rounded steel tips can prevent scratching and it has adjustable calibration.

Each low-tech device sold by Dynamic Labs has its own advantages. What’s unique about Dynamic Labs’ Tint Magic 9 tinting machine is that it has an external heating element. “This means that the heating element doesn’t sit in the heat transfer fluid so it won’t corrode,” says Dan Vogel, key account co-ordinator. The company’s 3-pt. Ultrasonic Cleaner can clean up to six frames, and according to Vogel, is so effective that in 90 seconds it can make a pair of eyeglasses look like new again. “It’s a great way to get loyalty from your patients with very little expense,” he adds.

A good choice for fitting digital progressives, Hilco’s distometer can accurately measure vertex distance. It includes a conversion scale and is designed to measure the distance between the cornea and the eyeglass frame or trial lens (vertex distance). A change in vertex distance can result in a change in the effective power of the lens. And with the increasing popularity of custom PALs, many of which require a vertex distance for accurate prescription calculation, this distometer can help ECPs who demand greater Rx accuracy.

A three-in-one lens inspection station, developed by OptiSource International, includes a PAL identifier which brings invisible PAL markings into focus; a polariscope that identifies hidden stress in mounted lenses and injection molded lens blanks; and a final inspection lamp with a white light that allows the user to identify any abnormalities in the finished eyewear.

“When our customers requested a new PAL identifier, we intuitively considered what other devices they currently use or need while dispensing,” notes Daryl Squicciarini, president of OptiSource. “Based on that analysis, we developed a multi-use machine for the same price or less than a PAL identifier only, without requiring any additional counter space.”

At Vision Expo East, Practical Systems, Inc. (PSI) introduced two new low-tech pieces of equipment: a progressive lens identifier and a hand edger with a sensor. The progressive lens identifier allows users to easily identify laser engravings on lenses. An ECP simply places the lens under the LED light and looks into the magnifier to see the etchings. This can help her eliminate errors when fitting progressive lenses. PSI also launched a hand edger with a sensor that automatically turns the machine on when a lab technician places his hands over the wheel to edge the lens. This allows him to move easily between tasks without having to stop and turn on or off the machine.

A digital pupilometer from Santinelli International, Inc. has an LCD and focusing light circle, a forehead distance bar, and is adjustable for monocular and binocular PD.

The Eyewire Curving Press by Western Optical Supply, Inc. can perfectly match the curve of the eyewire to the base curve of the lens bevel. When using it, the ECP presses the curve simultaneously in the same place on the top and bottom of the eyewire. She places the eyewire between the matching 6- or 9-base curved blocks and the screw closes. The press can be tightened less for other variations in base curves.

When looking to accomplish an easy task quickly, grab one of these handy low-tech devices you can depend on.

Carol Gilhawley is Senior Editor of VCPN.

Brain Power, Inc. (BPI)
DAC Vision
Dynamic Labs
OptiSource International
Practical Systems, Inc. (PSI)
Santinelli International, Inc.
Western Optical Supply, Inc.

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