|All of the latest models, including the Huvitz HLM-7000 distributed by Veatch and Coburn, can verify up to 10Δ of prism in increments as precise as 0.01Δ.|
The latest wave of lens inspection systems adds advanced features that manual models and computerized lensometers can’t match.
With the advent of digital surfacing and the ability to custom design private label lenses, manipulate corridor lengths and insets, compensate prescriptions for specific vertex distances, and position-of-wear, it has become almost essential to have an instrument capable of accurately deciphering all of this information into a usable format to aid dispensing and verification. A lens inspection system will give you a valuable tool capable of verifying Rx’s, mapping lens designs, analyzing UV protection, and aiding in the troubleshooting of patient problems. It can become an indispensable aid to increase sales and patient satisfaction.
The basic function of a lensometer is to neutralize the power of a given lens, identify the optical center, and indicate the amount of prism found, whether induced or prescribed. Lens inspection systems will perform these tasks flawlessly and within 0.01D of a unit accuracy, which is impossible with a manual lensometer.
While that’s impressive, what is really astounding about lens inspection systems is the amount of information these advanced technology devices offer and the speed at which they are able to analyze and process this information into a useful format.
Marco’s LM-1800, for example, uses a Hartmann-Shack sensor that simultaneously measures 108 points on the lens and crunches that information in only 0.06 seconds. The VL3100 from Visionix, Inc. gathers more than 1,500 measurement points from a lens and is also capable of disseminating that information for a variety of additional and amazing functions.
Many of the newer models, including the Huvitz HLM-7000 (distributed by Veatch Ophthalmic Instruments and Coburn Technologies, Inc.), have a verification range of +/- 25.00D for the sphere and +/- 10.00D range for the cylinder power. All the latest models can verify up to 10Δ of prism in increments as precise as 0.01Δ except the LM-1800, which is comfortable all the way up to 20Δ.
|CREATING A DIGITAL OFFICE With the equipment-networking capabilities of lens inspection systems, it is easier than ever to create and maintain a digital office. One added benefit to these newer systems is a printout that can be attached to the work order and provided to the dispenser to validate that the eyewear has met your office’s quality standards. It might also come in handy if a patient questions whether the eyeglasses were made to the doctor’s prescription.
One of the many benefits of gathering so much information with these instruments is to quickly identify the lens type. According to the company, the EZ-200 Advance from Topcon Medical Instruments, Inc., for example, can analyze a pair of eyeglasses in three easy steps: place the eyeglasses, push the button, obtain the results. This instrument actually manipulates the eyeglasses to determine the lens type, calculate the PD, provide power readings for both far and near, and map the power corridor of a progressive lens. In fact, all of the models mentioned are able to distinguish among lens types, locate the proper zones for verification, and calculate PDs. The main difference is whether they do this in an automated or manual positioning of the frame or lens.
|Some lens inspection systems, including Reichert’s AL700, first measure the corrective power of the lens and then UV transmission.|
According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Americans spend over one billion dollars a year on sunscreen products to help protect against harmful UV radiation and a growing number of consumers are becoming more aware of the need to protect their eyes as well.
Advanced lens inspection systems can also become an effective sales tool by providing a patient with a measurement of how well their lenses protect against the damaging rays of the sun. This feature comes standard on most models and should become the standard for how safe alternatives are presented to our patients moving forward. Some models, including Tomey USA’s TL3000C and Reichert Technologies’ AL700, first measure the corrective power of the lens and then measure UV transmission. The additional revenue generated in the sale of safer lens materials and treatments, combined with an increase in patient confidence in the practice would make the investment in a lens inspection system worth the price.
|Visionix’s VL3100 has an automatic mapping mode that displays a contour plot-like graphic on the screen.|
We have all seen progressive addition lens (PAL) contour plots that give an idea of the overall design of a lens. The idea behind these is to give eyecare professionals (ECPs) some idea of the merits of the design. One problem is that they are almost always depicting a 0.00D distance power with a 2.00D add. This information is helpful in accessing new lens designs but does not offer a “live” look at the design as fabricated for the wearer and is not available at all for many lenses if they are private labeled. Many patient’s complaints could be solved if we were able to see a map of the actual design in the “as fabricated” position to give indications of how much of what was promised ended up being delivered.
The solution is in the lens mapping feature that may just be the coolest tool ever in seeing the unseen. Most of the newer lens inspection systems offer a glimpse into the design of a PAL but one of the most advanced in this area is the VL3100 from Visionix, Inc. It has an automatic mapping mode that displays a contour plot-like graphic on the screen. Once you’ve seen this you’ll wonder how you lived without it.
What you see on the screen is the contour plot of the lens you’re reading, not some hypothetical lens map provided by the lens manufacturer. What you’ll see is how the design handles the patient’s prescription, which you can reference back to the manufacturer’s suggested design performance. Since this instrument displays the right and left eye plots side-by-side, you can look for differences in the plots. For example, you might find that there is a substantial difference in the right and left corridor widths, which may cause problems like a loss of clear viewing zone width due to misaligned binocular fields.
This instrument can also visually display spherical aberrations (distortion zones) and other lens attributes to the patient for additional upselling opportunities, not to mention being an invaluable aid in identifying and solving customer complaints.
The simple fact is manual lensometers and computerized lensometers are just not capable of providing much more information than what can be gained from two or three simple measuring points. With the increasing amount of free-from surfaced lenses being produced to 0.01D accuracy, the ECP needs an advanced device that can provide that degree of accuracy. In addition, modern free-form eyewear is complex and older instruments are not capable of providing the information needed to properly verify this eyewear. Advanced lens inspection systems can because they provide real analysis, not just power readings.
If you haven’t spent much time looking at the latest lens inspection systems, you owe it to yourself to do so. After a few minutes of working with one of these instruments, you’ll wonder why you don’t already own one.
Robert Flippin is a licensed optician and co-owner of Thorp & Flippin Optical in Lynchburg, VA.
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