Arno’s hand edger can touch off a lens when it’s a smidgeon too large or has a minor flake on its edge that needs removing.

The less technologically advanced devices are often some of the most valuable work aids for an office.

If you were asked to list 10 of your favorite optical tools, your list would most likely include a good number of items that are not really high-tech. Surprisingly, many of the tools that make optical offices productive and efficient are those low-tech devices. I asked several optical suppliers to share their popular low-tech tools. You may want to make a wish list as you read along because these little wonders make helpful additions to any lab bench!

The Micro-PAL by OptiSource International offers a convenient way to view the etching marks on progressive addition lenses (PALs). In addition to its tiny footprint taking up minimal space on your workbench, this little instrument packs all the features expected in a PAL lens surface reader including a super-bright LED light and an inspection grid. Battery powered, the unit is also beneficial for viewing lens blemishes, scratches, coating, tint quality, and more.

While progressive lens ink markings need to be tough to stay on the lenses throughout the finishing process, they need to be removed before being delivered to the patient. Taking these markings off is difficult enough, but serious rubbing can damage the surface of the lens. OptiSource’s All Off is the first acetone-free progressive marking ink remover that doesn’t require scrubbing; it simply dissolves

The battery-powered Micro-PAL from OptiSource is a convenient way to view the etching marks on PALs.

the ink markings. No need to worry about accidentally damaging a polycarbonate or other premium lens. All Off dries instantly and is non-oily, eliminating the additional need to rinse the lenses with water afterwards. It makes economic sense as well. All Off outlasts acetone or alcohol by three times, so your business can use less of it to remove marking inks quickly and easily.

Using a comfortable plier that doesn’t mar the frame you’re working on should be high on your optical priority list. The PJ Line of pliers by Western Optical Supply has been designed with ergonomics in mind. After all, if you use hand tools every day, they should be comfortable. Long, foam covered grips with spring-loaded action allow the user to comfortably grip frame parts that can be difficult to reach. Additionally, they feature jaws that close parallel onto a frame part while conventional pliers with scissor-closing action pinch thicker materials and mar a frame. The PJ Line’s Finger Piece Plier can securely grip a hinge or endpiece on a metal frame to modify the temple angle as well as lock onto metal temples with the opposing grooves in the jaws to make additional adjustments. Recessed holes have been placed in the jaw of the plier to protect hinge screws.

The ergonomic PJ Line of pliers by Western Optical feature jaws that close parallel onto a frame part.

While sophisticated edger systems get all the glory because of the intricate tasks they can do, the simple hand stone is still an important part of every finishing lab. Used to touch off a lens when it is just a smidgeon too large or has a minor flake on its edge that needs removing, the hand stone comes to the rescue. Arno Optical Corp. has one with a trim footprint that can be ordered with a variety of configurations in its NH Series. Features include wheel widths from 22mm to 32mm, a V-bevel groove, and two levels of grinding fineness.

The TempMaster™ Deluxe Hot Air Frame Warmer from Hilco isn’t computer operated, but using it

Hilco’s TempMaster Deluxe Hot Air Frame Warmer is a professional, durable heater de-signed for plastic frame glazing and adjustments.

makes your plastic frame adjusting a piece of cake. This warmer offers two heat settings and one cooling setting with multiple fan speeds for precision heat control on delicate frames. Temp-Master Deluxe is a professional, durable heater specifically designed for plastic frame glazing and adjustments.

As mentioned, eyecare professionals know how difficult identifying an unknown progressive lens can be—especially if it has an anti-reflective treatment. Hilco’s Progressive Lens Identifier can also quickly and effectively find the manufacturer, model, material, and reference points of the progressive lens by providing a clear view of the etchings, thus eliminating the possibility of errors in fitting progressive lenses.

After a slotting file and screw extractor is unable to remove a broken screw, Amcon’s Screw and Rivet Tool is the ticket. It removes broken screws with a quick punch through a well-supported stake. Need to prevent those screws from coming out again? This tool will also flare or peen the ends of screws. It includes two interchangeable points and two base posts. The points and posts are constructed of high carbon steel for long life and effective use.

With a flip of a switch, you can measure the percentage of ultra-violet (UV) and visible light transmission using Phantom Research Laboratories, Inc.’s Digital UV/Visible Transmission Meter, Model Spectrum 700VU. This UV/visible light meter’s capability extends over the UV spectrum from 320nm to 400nm and over the visible spectrum from 400nm to 700nm. And you don’t have to worry about removing lenses from the frame when checking the amount of light transmission, which is easily viewed on the digital display. This multi-tasking meter is also useful in demonstrating photochromic lenses.

Amcon’s Screw and Rivet Tool removes broken screws with a quick punch through a well-supported stake.

Want to tint in your office without having to invest in a pricey tinting system? If you have a microwave, then you can use OMS Opto Chemicals’ Micro-Tints® System. This patented system tints all plastic lens materials in your microwave in a matter of minutes. The dye for these tints last a long time because they are only in use when you place them in the microwave. Easy storage, no-fuss cleanup, and longevity with this low-tech tint system make it especially attractive for the office.

There are many products available that stand ready to make your daily operations flow more smoothly—and it’s not always the computerized gadgets that help you achieve this.

Debra R. White is a former opticianry professor. She is currently an optical consultant, lecturer, and writer.

800-255-6161 • amconlabs.com

Arno Optical Corp.
800-822-2766 • arnooptical.com

800-955-6544 • hilco.com

OMS Opto Chemicals
800-461-6637 • optochemicals.com

OptiSource International
800-OPTISOURCE • 1-800-optisource.com

Phantom Research Laboratories, Inc.
800-225-5559 • phantomresearch.com

Western Optical Supply
800-423-3294 • westernoptical.com


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