|The Satisloh on-block technology speeds up processing at Expert Optics by consolidating approximately 50 process steps into just six.|
Sorting through which digitally surfaced lenses to fit your patients with is challenging enough, but after you’ve made your choice, then you have to make sure that your lab is capable of producing the free-form lenses that you’ve selected. Some labs have made it their specialty to produce free-form lenses, and here are a few of them:
In addition to offering major manufacturers’ digitally surfaced lenses, Central Optical has designed its own proprietary single vision, D28, and progressive addition lenses (PALs) called iCentauri®. The iCentauri lenses are designed with a 20% wider field of vision and no distortion above the 180 line from temple to nasal. According to Central Optical, “iCentauri works in harmony with eye movement through the lens, further reducing head movement and eye strain.”
Using a free-form processing line from Schneider Optical Machines, Central Optical also produces digitally surfaced free-form lenses from some of the major lens manufacturers as well. “We have been able to do free-form from every manufacturer that offers free-form on our Schneider equipment,” said Lloyd Yazbek, President and CEO.
EXPERT OPTICS INC.
Priding itself on providing every lens available on the market, Expert
|Pech offers its own digitally surfaced free-form lens, Pech Pro, as well as those from the major lens manufacturers.|
Optics Inc. produces the digitally surfaced PALs from the following manufacturers: AO SOLA; Carl Zeiss Vision Inc.; Essilor of America, Inc.; Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc.; and Shamir Insight, Inc. Expert Optics offers dispenser training either in the office or in the lab, and its technical helpline uses computer-aided calculations for complex prescriptions.
To produce lenses, Expert Optics uses Satisloh’s on-block manufacturing (OBM™) technology, which reduces the average lab’s approximately 50 process steps to just six, leaving the lens on the block through coating, surfacing, and edging. Ultimately, this reduces turnaround time.
Greg Ruden, President of Expert Optics suggests, “When it comes to choosing a free-form laboratory, you want to look at the breadth of products and the variety of designs and materials that the laboratory makes available, but you also want to look at the training that’s provided to your staff on how to position the product to today’s consumer. If you can offer the best optics to the patient, why would you deny them? We definitely get the best optics with free-form.”
LUZERNE OPTICAL LABORATORIES, LTD.
All of the major brands of digitally surfaced free-form lenses are offered by Luzerne Optical Laboratories, Ltd. with in-house production complemented by all of the leading brands of anti-reflective treatments.
What is different about Luzerne Optical is its historic and continuous
|All of the major brands of digital free-form lenses are offered by Luzerne with in-house production complemented by all of the leading AR brands.|
focus on technology and its willingness to invest and be an early adopter. For example, Luzerne was the first lab in the U.S. to invest in a Schneider generator.
In 2009 Luzerne began processing free-form lenses in-house, and now it operates three automated, self-contained free-form lines, two in production and a third, fully operational line that’s at the ready, waiting for demand to increase. This third line is occasionally put into use for excess production.
General Manager Neil Dougherty said, “We learned the hard way. We went through a learning curve, but it’s well worth it. We owe it to our customers.”
PECH OPTICAL CORP.
Surfacing equipment from Satisloh allows Pech Optical Corp. to produce the newest generation of free-form and digital surfacing. This technology enabless Pech to produce customized PALs and backside aspheric single vision lenses.
Available free-form lenses include the proprietary Pech Pro, digitally surfaced lenses from Essilor and Seiko, as well as SOLA HD lenses from Zeiss, HOYALUX® iD® LifeStyle® from HOYA, and KODAK Unique from Signet Armorlite, Inc.
When eyecare professionals (ECPs) want instant access to Pech they need only type a request into the lab’s online optical chat box between the hours of 7:30am and 6pm, and their question will immediately pop up on a customer service person’s computer screen for immediate attention.
Customer service is an important aspect of Pech, according to Luann Mosier, Vice President of Sales, Education & Marketing. “Customer service is our key ingredient,” she said. “We have the marketing and education to support the needs of our customers. It’s everybody working together to keep that ultimate wearer satisfied.”
PRO FIT OPTIX
A unique company, Pro Fit Optix is both a free-form lab and a lens distribution company. Originally, it was founded as a virtual lab for free-form.
The company had proprietary software developed for online ordering so ECPs could purchase a large array of free-form lenses on the Web. It then signed supply contracts with Rodenstock, Optixx AG, HOYA, KODAK, and ILT. The initial company model was that an ECP would order lenses using online software, which routed the job to a worldwide processing partner, then the ECP would receive uncut lenses in a few days from Pro Fit. In its original design, Pro Fit was purely a distribution company.
Since then, Pro Fit has also begun distributing products such as semi-finished progressive blanks. In addition, the company is building a full-service free-form lab in Dallas for the production of free-form individualized PALs and single-vision lenses under Rodenstock software licensing, Optixx software licensing, and other software to come.
Products are organized as good, better, best to create a complete portfolio of products from value to premium and everything in between. The peak of this pyramid has the Rodenstock brand. In the middle is Pro Fit Identity, and the lower segment has the private label product, Acuity.
Pro Fit introduced the private-label Acuity brand as a value position product. ECPs can order a free-form lens at a similar price to a conventional PAL, eliminating the price barrier that causes some practitioners to hesitate trying these lenses.
“We want to be the driving force to convert all PAL users into free-form lens users,” said Rudolf Suter, CEO of Pro Fit. “We see ourselves as a catalyst and if that means a partnership with a wholesale laboratory, that’s where we want to be. If that means education, sales, distribution partnerships with IPAs or managed health care groups, that’s where we’re going to be.”
All these labs are leaders in enabling ECPs to convert from conventional to free-form lenses, and more continue coming on line for your practice to partner with.
John Sailer is Senior Editor of VCPN.
WHERE TO FIND IT
Carl Zeiss Vision Inc.
800-358-8258 • zeiss.com/lenses
800-322-6678 • centraloptical.com
Essilor of America, Inc.
800-542-5668 • essilorusa.com
Expert Optics Inc.
800-892-0097 • expertoptics.net
HOYA VISION CARE, North America
877-528-1939 • hoyavision.com
Luzerne Optical Laboratories, Ltd.
800-233-9637 • luzerneoptical.com
Pech Optical Corp,
800-831-2352 • pechoptical.com
Pro Fit Optix
866-996-7849 • profitoptix.com
Seiko Optical Products of America, Inc.
800-235-5367 • seikoeyewear.com
Shamir Insight, Inc.
877-514-8330 • shamirlens.com
Signet Armorlite, Inc
800-950-5367 • signetarmorlite.com