Signet Armorlite’s 3M Anti-Slip Disc fits between a standard blocking pad and the lens.

Here are answers to some of ECPs’ common concerns about optical lab consumables.

A year ago, I wrote an article titled “Consumables You Can Depend On.” The idea was that I would interview lab experts from around the country to find out which consumables (e.g., dyes, lens blocking pads, and other products) performed well and came in at a price that wouldn’t put their company’s lab budget in the hospital. While the reaction to this article was good, it raised a number of questions concerning products that were not mentioned. The following are a few of those questions I’ve received.

Q: I’ve been using a lens cleaner put out by one of the big optical distributors. Since it’s expensive, I don’t see how it would hurt to use one of the glass cleaning products at the local supermarket. Your thoughts?

A: Don’t do it. There’s a big difference between a window pane in your house or office and a properly ground and polished plastic prescription lens. Commercial glass cleaners often have chemicals in them that can damage anti-reflective (AR) treatments, and can have fine particles that will scratch a conventional plastic or polycarbonate lens, especially if the lens does not have a good hardcoat on it.
Hilco, OptiSource International, and Nanofilm offer a number of specialized lens cleaning products that will make those lenses sparkle without hurting them. Ruining a pair of high-index AR-treated progressives by using a sprinkle from a bottle of glass cleaner doesn’t strike me as being very cost-effective.

Q: I’ve started buying finished single vision AR lenses and had several of these slip in the edger, resulting in some expensive re-makes. I can’t keep eating this kind of expense. Is there a fix or do I stop buying these lenses?

A: Ask your current lab supply distributor to recommend one or more products for solving this problem.

Western Optical’s QuikFix Rivet can be used when patients are missing a temple screw on their “drugstore” sunglasses.

There are a number of companies that make specialized lens blocking pads for AR-treated lenses, including Phantom Research Laboratories, Inc. and DAC Vision. Another interesting product is the 3M™ Anti-Slip Disc, which is available from Signet Armorlite, Inc. This product fits between a standard blocking pad and the lens, thus providing a good grip on both the lens surface and the pad itself.

Q: I currently use water in the tank of my edger’s recirculating system but the stuff can get smelly and pretty nasty looking in just a couple of days. I’ve seen ads for some edgers that say the machine can use tap water, but instead of using a recirculating pump, they just let the water go down the drain. Should I use a specialized product in my edger coolant?

A: I don’t think that continuously pouring water down the drain is an especially good environmental step. A quality coolant will not only make that bucket of water last longer, it will get rid of most of the odor too. An important part of using a coolant is that you’ll get a better lens edge while reducing the friction between the diamond wheel and the lens. This will extend the life of that diamond wheel. In addition to using the coolant, you may want to add an anti-foaming agent. Before you do this, try using just the coolant for a couple of weeks to decide if you need the anti-foamer. Phantom Research, DAC Vision, and Satisloh all offer a variety of coolants for both edging and generators.

Q: Stocking optical screws can be expensive. Are there any practical ways to reduce the cost or perhaps the amount I need to keep on hand?

A: You’ll need to determine the quantity and type of screws you use the most and then do some research. Pay special attention to the brands and types of frames on your frame board; those probably

OptiSource offers a number of specialized lens cleaning products that will not damage AR lenses.

will be the ones you’ll need the screws for someday. Check the catalogs of OptiSource, Dynamic Labs, and Western Optical Supply for the types of screws and other parts, such as nosepads, they carry.

Obviously, you’ll need the correct screw thread type and diameter (usually given in millimeters). Try to find screws that look like the “stock” ones that came with the frame and check color, screw head size, and length. Opti-Source’s self-aligning Snapit™ screws feature an extra-long feeder tab—simply insert the screw into any hinge or eyewire and then snap off the tab. A great alternative for when patients come in with a missing temple screw on their $2 pair of “drugstore” sunglasses is Western Optical’s QuikFix Rivet. It is designed to work with Western’s Shootout multi-tool kit (an amazing product on its own), although it’s not necessary to have that particular tool to utilize the rivets.

These were only some of the frequently asked questions I’ve heard in the last year or so. No doubt you have others. Often the best source for answering those questions is the suppliers you deal with. So don’t wait until next year for me to answer your questions—ask your suppliers today.

Larry Guess is a consultant to the optical industry and designer of new optical tools.

DAC Vision
800-800-1550 •

Dynamic Labs
888-339-6264 •

800-955-6544 •

800-883-6266 •

OptiSource International

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

800-866-5640 •

Signet Armorlite, Inc.
800-759-0075 •

Western Optical Supply
800-423-3294 •


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