Digital Surfacing and Lenses: Welcome to the new normal

By Julie Bos

“The only thing constant in life is change.” We’ve all heard this quote before; and nowhere is it more true than in the dynamic world of digital surfacing and lenses.

Read any industry updates and you’ll quickly learn why. Advancements in equipment speed and capabilities, plus the ability to personalize lenses to age groups and lifestyles, are all keeping the industry on its toes. And labs that don’t keep up can be quickly left behind. The most successful labs will be those that can expertly adapt to “the new normal” while also maintaining excellent levels of customer service.

To take a deeper dive into what’s happening in the world of digital surfacing and lenses, we turned to several leading lens and digital equipment providers, who shared the latest solutions shaping today’s digital landscape.

What’s New for Digital Lenses?

Eyezen by Essilor USA

Recently, Essilor announced the launch of Eyezen glasses, an ideal solution for the millennial generation (people between the ages of 18 and 34). Eyezen glasses not only benefit those who require a prescription but also those who currently wear contact lenses or don’t wear prescription glasses at all. Eyezen glasses contain a small amount of accommodative relief, in the lower portion of the lens to help alleviate eyestrain often caused by viewing text and small screens on devices such as tablets and smart phones. Three unique Eyezen lens designs are available, and the patient’s age will determine which design is right for them:

• Eyezen 1 – patients aged 20 to 34

•Eyezen 2 – patients aged 35 to 44

•Eyezen 3 – patients aged 45 and up

Eyezen 1, targeting the millennial generation, provides the biggest opportunity for ECPs and is the main focus of the brand. For more information, please visit Eyezenusa.com.

EGMA LLC / Rodenstock Lenses

The new Rodenstock Multigressiv MyView 2 and Impression 2 generation of premium branded, high-tech lenses are available with Rodenstock’s patented Eye Lens Technology (EyeLT). With EyeLT, pupil size, binocularity and eye rotation calculations optimize the correction, resulting in absolutely sharp vision at all distances and in all light conditions. All Rodenstock lenses come with multiple coating options, including Rodenstock’s proprietary premium AR coat, Solitaire Protect Plus, bringing wearers immaculately smooth and easy-to-care lenses, with the best Rodenstock protection available and the ColorMatic IQ photochromic lens.

EGMA also launches its new proprietary brand of digital free form lenses, eyeonx, bringing all the benefits of the digitized X100, customized X300 and individualized X500 lens designs to single vision, computer and progressive lenses. The X100, X300 and X500 series of lenses are available in the largest variety of lens materials, all with the eyeonx proprietary premium AR coat, CLEARX, and the eyeonx CLEARX-SHIELD bluelight coat. All eyeonx lenses come with EGMA’s unique pricing structure, making digital lenses easier to manage than ever before.

HOYA Vision

HOYA Vision is setting the standard for PALs with its dual-surfaced technology: A backside that allows for natural peripheral vision, and a front surface which grants a natural gradient of near-to-far vision. Additionally, the company’s Mystyle lens takes digital progressives to the next level.

“Rather than simply generating a progressive based upon standardized measurements like other manufacturers, HOYA places ECPs into the role of an ocular tailor: Someone who recognizes that every individual has specialized needs that aren’t one-size-fits-all,” said Rick Tinson, VP, inventory and distribution. “In addition to standard optical measurements such as PD and seg height, we also take into account factors such as the patient’s hobbies, occupation and social life in order to design a lens which will best meet their individualized needs.”

Shamir Insight

Shamir Insight is another company that recently released new digital lenses. Here’s what’s new:

• Shamir Attitude III – Fashion is designed to provide expanded vision zones and enhanced peripheral vision. With balanced far, intermediate, and near vision, this lens is ideal for any day-to-day outdoor activities.

• Shamir Attitude III – Sport is suited specifically for sports and active lifestyles, offering vision zones that are adapted for dynamic sports.

• Shamir Attitude III – SV gives single vision wearers maximized visual comfort and expanded peripheral vision unlike any single vision sun lens.

 “Whether it’s X-ray, photos, telescopes or eyewear, the higher the resolution, the clearer the image,” said Pam Benson-Gibson, director of education. “Digital surfacing opens the door for better resolution in two areas. The first is digital surfacing—precision surfacing! The second and critical to the final result is the design. Design engineers are now able to create lenses with greater accuracy for the best visual response, and meet more specific visual needs and lifestyles. Personal designs made in real time, tailored to specific environments are now available. The sky is the limit!”

Signet Armorlite

KODAK DSII Lens is the latest, most innovative progressive to be added to the KODAK Lens Professional Series. This dual-side progressive lens incorporates multiple proprietary technologies with the patient’s point-of-wear measurements. The KODAK DSII Lens includes smooth power progression through the viewing corridor, a large reading area and full customization to the individual patient’s Rx. With availability in 26 materials, the KODAK DSII Lens provides a premium Kodak-branded progressive lens customized for even the most discerning patient.

“Digital lenses are going to continue to grow on a global scale as it makes financial and quality sense for all that participate in our industry,” said Ed DeRosa, executive VP, North America sales and operations.

Indizen Optical Technologies (IOT)

In early 2016, IOT will be releasing a revolutionary new product called FreeStyle, a lens that changes the power configuration for each wearer. This enables the lens to reach a brand new level of personalization—not just adapting the lens to the physiological parameters, but also adapting the configuration to each wearer’s unique lifestyle. This product comes with an attractive application for the ECP and patient to ensure that the daily visual needs of the wearer are met. In addition, IOT also keeps researching and engineering new designs for specific tasks, in order to remain a leader in product availability with the largest portfolio in the industry.

Carl Zeiss Vision

Another new addition to the digital lens lineup is ZEISS DriveSafe, which was designed for the more than two-thirds of adults who report feeling stressed while driving in rain, fog and low-light. Developed with input from a leading German driving institute, DriveSafe provides better vision and easier changes of focus in all light conditions. DriveSafe lenses feature new ZEISS DuraVision DriveSafe coating, which reduces the glare from high-energy headlights. Available in both progressive and single vision, ZEISS DriveSafe is perfect for all-day use, whether on or off the road. 

VISION EASE

Extending its digital lens design portfolio to fully complement consumer needs, VISION EASE released five new wrap-style and general purpose lens offerings. Through the company’s recent strategic partnership with IOT, VISION EASE initially offers two proprietary design series—Sportwrap and Everywhere.

Sportwrap designs are ideal for active consumers because the digitally optimized design accommodates wrap-style frames needed in sports. Everywhere designs are best for general-purpose wear. The designs are optimized for VISION EASE blanks but are not restricted.

“Our partnership with IOT is defined by seamless integration,” said Barry Resnik, vice president of marketing for VISION EASE. “Customers utilizing the IOT network can seamlessly add our designs, and have full access to both VISION EASE and IOT support. This integrated approach ensures quick and accurate delivery of our propriety digital lens designs.”

What’s New in Digital Surfacing Equipment?

Coburn Technologies

Coburn’s latest addition to its line of digital equipment is the Cobalt LTE generator, featuring Coburn’s proven mist-cut technology for the highest quality surface accuracy and smoothest finish. This new platform is one of the most compact digital generators on the market today. What makes it truly unique is that it does not require a water management filtration system, making it ideal for small to medium-sized ophthalmic labs eager to upgrade their in-house capabilities to offer free-form lenses. Key features include:

• Coburn’s patented and globally licensed single-point diamond turning lathe technology

• Mist-cutting process to cool and lubricate the cutter/lens interface

• Stiff and robust granite base providing improved stability and less sensitivity to external vibration for higher quality output

• Precision air bearings for increased cutting accuracy

• Smaller footprint, requiring only about 20 square feet of lab space (including external vacuum)

 “The future of digital surfacing is all about simplifying the lens making process, and the Cobalt LTE does that,” said Alex Incera, president of Coburn Technologies. “By reducing the requirement for a water filtration system, and by minimizing the space required, we’ve made it such that even the smallest labs can adapt this technology.”

Satisloh

Just recently released is Satisloh’s Multi-FLEX digital polisher. Designed for high volume production lines with diverse production needs, the Multi-FLEX has multiple options for a mix of lens characteristics distinguishing this polishing system. It uses only a single tool geometry for all standard materials and curvatures and is engineered with three independent polishing chambers, each with two spindles, providing unrivaled production levels and process flexibility. The long-lasting single tool helps optimize production flow with fewer tool changes and reduces polishing tool inventory and complexity.

By providing more than double the output of two machines in the footprint only slightly larger than a single machine, the Multi-FLEX allows labs to maximize their production floor space. This simple, robust automation system reduces maintenance requirements and maximizes uptime.

“In terms of manufacturing, the optical industry has always been unique,” said Ian Gregg, VP sales operations and product management. “We don’t make millions of identical widgets but rather engage in a process often called ‘mass customization.’ The digital revolution has brought this capability to a whole new level where, one day soon, a patient will be able to design a progressive lens specifically tailored for his or her needs and have it delivered faster than ever before.”

Schneider Optical Machines

Schneider’s Modulo series machines are the first ‘cognitive’ machines offering real-time feedback to the laboratory’s production, service and line managers.  It’s a new way of managing machinery utilization led by the Modulo XT generator and CCP Modulo polisher. The XT is the fastest, all-in-one, digital generator ever offered. It combines speed with consistently exceptional lens quality. The CCP is not only the most accurate and reliable digital polisher on the market, it also expands a lab’s product offering by processing lenses up to 18 diopters automatically. And the intelligent Modulo Control Center ties it all together. 

“Digital surfacing continues to expand the boundaries of lens manufacturing,” said Kevin Cross, director of sales. “Labs can and will grow without taking on significant lens blank inventories due to free form processing. The addition of cognitive machine processes and real time process data streams to lab management will allow for highly efficient manufacturing as well as transparency in the manufacturing process.  These innovations will allow labs and manufacturers to offer the latest lens technology while having the most advanced manufacturing processes.”

OptoTech

At Vision Expo West, OptoTech introduced its new high-performance production cell for digital lenses “smartLAB ultraline.” Centerpieces of this new line are the separation of the milling and turning process on two machines, which are especially designed for the relevant production step as well as a brand new polisher.

The new ESM Twin-A is a milling machine equipped with two spindles to simultaneously process two digital lenses. It offers unmatched output of more than 150 jobs per hour.

The ESM Twin-A is the ideal pre-cutter for the also introduced FLASH Twin-A. This new digital surfacing-turning machine is an enhancement to company’s time-tested FLASH series. Using two Fast Tools, the FLASH Twin-A is able to simultaneously process two digital lenses, offering an output of up to 120 jobs per hour.

To complement the new Twin-A machines, OptoTech developed the new Digital-Surfacing-Polisher ASP 80 Twin-A, designed for full automatic high-speed polishing of two toric/atoric or backside progressive lenses simultaneously


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May/June LabTalk 2017