A Clear New World - Children as Well as Adults Should Reap the Benefits of Anti-reflective Lenses

By By Jim Schäfer
When it comes to children’s lenses, many in the optical industry are guilty of reverting their behavior back to a darker age – a time when premium lens features, like anti-reflection (AR), were not considered viable options for children. With improved technologies and enhanced awareness of the value of AR lenses for younger patients, this is changing—but not nearly quickly enough.
This is where optical laboratories can play a key role, by arming eye care professionals with updated information about the benefits of AR lenses for this younger age group.
Today’s AR lenses:
• Increased scratch protection: Advanced AR coatings (double dip hard coating + hydrophobic coating + oleo phobic coating) provide a higher level of scratch protection than standard hard coated lenses. Protection for the investment!
• Provide clearer vision: AR lenses eliminate unwanted reflections and ncrease light transmittance for sharper, clearer, more comfortable vision – benefits valuable to patients of all ages.
• Fight fatigue: Children spend a large part of their days in the classroom and behind the computer, two places where lens glare is an issue. AR lenses can improve computer vision and reduce eye fatigue by eliminating lens glare from surrounding light sources that may interfere with their vision while working with the computer.
• Are easy-to-clean: Newer generations of AR lenses can be ordered with an oleophobic topcoat, which resists oils and fingerprints resulting in lenses that are easier to care for and clean, a big plus for children who aren’t skilled in the art of the cleaning cloth!
Communicating the Value of Eyewear
Even after understanding the benefits of AR lenses for children, some eye care professionals may still hesitate to recommend them. This is often because of a common misperception that parents will not pay more for children’s lenses, and that children will not appreciate the value of the premium benefits offered.
Parents definitely want the best for their children, and will inevitably pay extra for items they value, whether the hottest sneaker, the most prestigious education, or the top healthcare.
To convince parents to invest in their children’s eyeglasses, eye care professionals must inform them of the value of eyewear. While eyeglasses can sometimes be treated as a commodity item, parents should understand that their children’s vision and appearance will be influenced by their choice in lenses. While all properly prescribed lenses can correct a child’s vision to 20/20, children will actually perceive that they see better with lenses that offer enhanced visual comfort and lens glare protection. This was proven in a recent clinical study spearheaded by Madeline L. Romeu, OD, and Susan M. Stenson, MD, which showed that children overwhelmingly prefer photochromic lenses over regular, clear lenses. The research cited visual comfort as a significant factor influencing this preference, demonstrating that children will have higher satisfaction and may even perceive that they see better with lenses that reduce lens glare.
Approximately 80 percent of learning in a child's first 12 years comes through the eyes, according to the Vision Council of America, so why wouldn’t parents want their children to have the most optimal vision?
Your customers will have you to thank, as they reap higher satisfaction from parents who see that their eye care professionals are making children’s healthy vision a top priority.
Jim Schäfer is a VCA AR committee member and manager and technical sales and customer service for Transitions Optical, Inc.

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May/June LabTalk 2017