|Pech’s Safari line of mirror coatings can bring the jungle to your display.|
|Opticote offers mirror products in 48 colors.|
|HISTORY OF MIRROR LENSES The first mirrors to be produced were made by polishing obsidian, a shiny translucent volcanic glass. Soon after, other metals were used for their reflective properties such as gold, silver, copper, and bronze. Egyptians were known for being particularly fond of their aesthetics and produced highly polished bronze mirrors. This technology is still used today with both metallic and dielectric coatings providing highly reflective surfaces for ophthalmic lenses.|
|Patients will certainly look cool with the iCoat’s Ice and Fusion Ice mirror collections.|
|Nexus’ mirror lenses come in polycarbonate, gray, and NuPolar polarized.|
Lenses with high-quality mirror treatments are more popular than ever.
Mirror-treated lenses have become a very hot seller in both the plano and prescription sunwear categories. They provide a fun escape route from conventional lens aesthetics. Secondary to their adventuresome styling, mirror treatments decrease light transmission, glare, and UV. They also offer privacy to avoid undesirable eye contact. Mirror-coated lenses are as diverse as the eyewear they reside in and come in a variety of available colors, gradients, and treatment styles to satiate any request. Recommending mirror coatings to your patients will not only help you break through a sales plateau, but can give your optical shop some positive word-of-mouth.
BEHIND THE MIRROR
I divide mirrors into three types: solid, flash, and gradient. A solid mirror coating provides the greatest degree of reflectance and will make the lenses appear opaque. Flash coatings are not as concentrated and so yield more of a translucent, semi-reflective finish. Gradient mirror finishes are solid at the top of the lens and gradually decrease in concentration towards the bottom. A double-gradient mirror finish is beneficial for those who are concerned with overhead glare as well as glare from below, such as skiers facing direct sunlight and a highly reflective snowy terrain.
Modern advancements in technology now enable laboratories to produce high-quality mirrored lenses at record speeds. The following is an overview on what’s offered today.
Now owned by Essilor of America, Inc., iCoat Company, LLC, offers both the Ice and Fusion Ice mirror collections. Both lines are available in nine fiery hot colors. Cobalt, one of the more sought-after hues, has a gentle sapphire illumination that seems to both mesmerize and calm. Red, another transfixing color, resonates well with the sporty patient. The Ice collection is iCoat’s premium line, offering an added proprietary primer and a proprietary double-sided thermally cured dip hardcoat for increased scratch protection and overall lens durability.
The Fusion Ice standard mirror coatings do not include iCoat’s proprietary primer and hardcoat but can be applied to lenses that already have a lab-applied or manufacturer’s hardcoat and can also be used on lenses that have been edged. iCoat recommends using mirror treatments with polarized lenses, using a flash mirror for a subtle hint of color, and a solid mirror for a bold, high concentration mirror.
North American Coating Laboratories (NACL) offers some of the most intense mirror-treated lenses on the market. Classic reflex mirror coating, which has been available for over 20 years, is still one of the most desired applications. Solid flash silver, which is applied over an 80% gray base, is and will continue to be, a scorching hot seller. NACL also produces dielectric mirrors, which offer superb protection without hindering light transmission. These are available in a wide array of colors such as Ultra Ray Green and Arctic Blue and are exceptional for activities such as playing tennis or swinging golf clubs. NACL’s Sportlife Lens collection is a family of double-gradient mirror coatings that are efficient at eliminating 100% of UV rays and 90% of blue light. For those who love to ski, the Sportlife Snow is a must-have, designed specifically for combating the glare of a white landscape.
Nexus Vision Group can mirror-coat lens blanks in 2-,4-,6-,7-, and 8-bases in eight colors. Since it has an extensive inventory of pre-coated blanks already on the shelf and ready to surface, it can easily and quickly supply them. Nexus features the Nextreme Performance Mirror System with upgraded vacuum coaters so it is able to produce pre-coated semi-finished blanks at a surprising pace with all eight colors in stock. This appealing turnaround time and large inventory is light years ahead of the two-week lead time of years past.
The company’s mirror lenses, which come in polycarbonate, gray, and NuPolar‘ polarized, include a “super-hydrophobic” top coating that creates a slippery surface for easier cleaning. To increase the performance of the Nextreme lenses, Nexus recommends a UV-AR backside treatment. This is a new process that both absorbs and deflects damaging UV light rays while reducing annoying backside glare. Available in eight glistening hues, Nexus can ship the blanks to other labs to surface or it can process single vision, digital round, or any of its own branded digital progressives in its state-of-the-art facility in Grove City, OH. Nexus is ready to process complete orders with its brand new MEI System, Inc. edger and shape scanning software, which can edge extremely intricate lens designs. It also provides ECPs with some support material such as a mirror display, mats, and signage.
Selling mirrors can mean increased profitability for the optical office and higher levels of customer satisfaction for the patient, according to Opticote, Inc., which has products in 48 colors.
Some of the more unique colors are found within the tropical Miami collection. Both fun and functional, the Miami collection offers a vacation from the expected. Opticote’s Chicago line also pokes at tradition with incredibly vibrant tones. Patients seeking a more traditional mirror might respond well to the Los Angeles or New York offerings available in silver, gold, and blue. Opticote recommends that all mirror-coated lenses include both a backside AR and a super-hydrophobic and oleophobic topcoat to permit easier cleaning and extend the life of the lens.
Safari Mirror Coatings from Pech Optical Corp. come standard with a backside anti-glare treatment for improved wearer vision and comfort. These treatments might have fun, quirky names representative of an African safari such as Baboon Blue, Giraffe Gold, Rhino Red, and Puma Purple. The technology surrounding them, however, is far from primitive. Ready to disrupt conventional fashion barriers, these mirror treatments offer a fresh perspective. Safari coatings also feature an oleophobic topcoat to help keep lenses clean. For those who desire a tried-and-true coating, Pech Optical also uses Crizal’ Sun Shield Mirror UV in blue, gold, and silver with a two-year warranty.
Unfortunately, most patients are unaware that mirror treatments can be added to their eyewear purchases. This is why it’s important for ECPs to consult with their patients. Take a moment to re-dedicate your practice to offering mirror coatings on a regular basis. Spend any amount of time at an outdoor recreational event and you’ll see their prevalence and popularity. Reserved not only for motorcyclists, skiers, and teenagers trying to pull off a “bad boy” image, mirror treatments are perfect for everyday patients. Allow your patients’ personalities to reflect off their custom-made mirror-treated eyewear!
Sam Winnegrad is an instructor in the Opticianry Department at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN.
WHERE TO FIND IT:
800-832-2628 • icoatcompany.com
Nexus Vision Group
866-492-6499 • nexusvisiongroup.com
North American Coating Laboratories
866-216-6225 • nacl.com
800-248-6784 • opticote.com
Pech Optical Corp.
800-831-2352 • pechoptical.com