At West Michigan Eyecare Associates, we pride ourselves in offering the latest and greatest products within the industry. Our experienced opticians are well-educated on the most advanced lenses and treatments within the optical arena. We incorporate the latest techniques and technology utilized to properly outfit the best pair of glasses possible. What does all this mean for you? Better lenses = Better vision!
If you care to learn a little bit more about the type of technology available at West Michigan Eyecare Associates, keep reading! Feel free to call our Optical Department if you have any questions about what products would be best for your individual needs.
Photochromic Lenses (Transitions)
Transition lenses should be considered a great “comfort” lens rather than a substitute for sunglasses. However, Transition lenses make a great option for patients that are looking to have additional protection from the sun during times when they wouldn’t switch into their sunglasses. Transitions come in a variety of options including the Transitions signature, Xtra-active, Vantage and Drivewear. All satisfy a slightly different niche which can satisfy a range of patient needs.
Keep in mind that a Transition lens only protects the human eye from about 20% of the sun’s harmful rays. In addition, the patient may notice other areas in which the lenses’ performance may be less than optimal. A good example of this is the fact that the lens will darken on cold nights but will not darken as much on hot sunny days, due to the fact that temperature persuades the activation of a Transition lens. A Transition lens will also fall short when a patient wants relief from the sun while they are driving. Most Transition lenses only remain slightly activated while in the car, if at all.
Several things happen when light passes through your lenses. Most of the light passes through the lens without consequence but a good portion of light can be dispersed, absorbed or reflected. Absorbed and reflected light reduces clarity and increases eye strain. Ever wonder why headlights have a starburst effect around them at night? The dispersion of light that occurs within a lens compounds this effect and compromises your ability to see clearly at night.
Anti-Reflective treatments allow for over 99% percent of the light passing through the lens to pass through without being deviated. This means patients see better and experience less eye strain. If you want to see the world as clearly as possible, anti-reflective treatments are your best bet.
Anti-Reflective treatments like Crizal Prevencia go a step further by absorbing and reflecting harmful HEV light.
High Energy Visible (HEV) light is a harmful light within the blue light spectrum. Most high energy lights, like UV are absorbed by the Crystalline lens within the eye. Unlike UV, HEV light is able reach the retina of the eye. It is for this reason that it seems likely that HEV light contributes to damaging the retina.
HEV light also causes additional eye strain and disruptions in sleep and wake cycles.
Trivex is the lightest material available. Its specific gravity is so low, it will actually float in saltwater. Of all the “Hi Index” materials, (Polycarbonate, 1.60 plastic, 1.67 plastic and 1.74 plastic) it has the best ABBE value (45). The superior tensile strength of Trivex makes it ideal for drill mounted frames. It is the only material other than polycarbonate that meets impact resistance standards for dispensing to children. Trivex also comes standard with UV protection and the increased rigidity tends to make it a slightly more scratch resistant than other materials.
Even though Trivex is the lightest material available, it is a little thicker than polycarbonate. Patients with scripts higher than +/-4.00 may not like the thickness of their lenses in relation to polycarbonate but they will definitely appreciate the increase in clarity.
Due to the fact that Trivex is relatively new to the world of optics, there may be a few more limitations on available lens designs. However, the continued increase in popularity of this material have made these limitations few and far between.
Polycarbonate may likely be one of the best all-around lenses available. The only material that is lighter than polycarbonate is Trivex. It also comes standard with scratch and UV protection. Polycarbonate is very flexible which makes it (arguably) the most impact resistant lens available. For this reason, polycarbonate should always be dispensed for patients whom’s main concern is impact resistance. Poly also has a fairly moderate tensile strength which makes it a decent option for drill mounts.
Even though Polycarbonate used to be the standard for drill mounts, it does have the tendency to crack around the drilled holes. It is for this reason that poly has been replaced by Trivex as the best option for drill mounts. The worst quality about polycarbonate is the ABBE value. While poly is a good all-around lens, it has the worst clarity of all available lenses.
1.67 tends to be a great option for patients around the 6D range, give or take a few diopters. Most patients requiring 5-7D of correction won’t notice a big difference in thickness when compared to 1.74, as long as there isn’t an excessive amount of decentration in the patient’s frame. 1.67 also comes standard with scratch and UV protection.
Despite the reduced thickness of the lenses, it will be heavier than materials such as Trivex or poly. The ABBE value is also far surpassed by most other materials. 1.67 is best suited for patients with moderate to high prescriptions whose main priority is the thickness of the lens. Its reduced tensile strength makes it the worst option of all lenses capable of being drilled.
1.74 plastic is the thinnest material available for most patients in the United States, unless they make a trip to Canada. The ABBE value is slightly better than the runner up in I.O.R., 1.67. The increased specific gravity does make it slightly heavier than most other materials but most patients don’t notice a difference in weight in relation to materials like polycarbonate. 1.74 is the best option available for patients that desire the thinnest lens available. It will come standard with scratch and UV protection.
1.74 should be avoided at all costs when it comes to drill mounts. It is extremely brittle and won’t usually survive the drilling process. Even if it does, the lens won’t usually last long once it is mounted. 1.74 should also be avoided for patients that desire a lens with superior clarity. Most 1.74 lenses also require an anti-reflective coating be applied.
A Polarized sunglass is one of the best options that can be prescribed to a patient that is looking to maximize their potential visual acuity while minimizing transmission of the harmful rays of the sun. A polarized sunglass will protect the eye from about 88% of the sun’s harmful rays, including 100% of UV rays. In addition, a polarized sunglass also eliminates horizontal reflections. It is for this reason that a polarized sunglass is so favorable amongst fisherman who will be able to see into the water with a polarized sunglass lens. In contrast, anyone that relies on the viewing of of LCD displays should not be prescribed a polarized sunglass due to the fact that it will hinder the ability to view them. The most common patient that fits this profile is an airplane pilot. Most of the instruments they rely on are LCD displays.
There are two main color options in a polarized lens that most patients will have available…brown or grey. Companies like Maui Jim offer other polarized colors such as the Maui Rose and the Maui HT. Brown polarized lenses tend to increase the level of contrast the patient notices. This makes them a great all-around pair of sunglasses that can even be used on overcast days. The brown lens will, however, compromise a patient’s ability to identify colors (mostly the “cool” colors of the spectrum such as blue, violet and black). Grey lenses will block all spectrums of light equally and it will block more light than a brown lens. For this reason, grey lenses are better suited for brighter days. Color identification stays well intact with a grey lens and most patients find the grey color to the most cosmetically appealing option.
When selecting Maui Jim polarized lenses, you should be aware of the properties of the 4 color choices that are available. The lens that transmits the most amount of light is the Maui HT (high transmission) lens. The lenses that follow in their ability to transmit the most amount of light are the Maui Rose, HCL Bronze and Neutral Grey. Patients will notice a notable difference between these lenses when it comes to their varied abilities in enhancing contrast, clarity or comfort.
Some patients may be put off by the limited color options but most will be reassured when they are reminded of the health benefits of a polarized lens. In addition, most patients may be reassured in the purchase of a polarized sunglass due to the fact that it can help to prevent wrinkles around the eye as well as skin cancer.
Mirror coatings can be applied to just about any sunglass lens (or dress lens for that matter). A mirror coat will decrease the amount of light that is transmitted through the lenses. This makes it a perfect option for patients that want to use their sunglasses on very bright days or if they are frequently on the water. Some patients elect to have a mirror coating applied for cosmetic reasons due to the fact that the application of a mirror coat will usually prevent others from seeing the patient’s eyes through the lens.
There are a plethora of colors offered in mirror coatings and the application of this coat will usually totally opacify the lens so that the patient’s eyes cannot be seen. Patients should be advised that because the application of a mirror coat decreases light transmission, it may hinder their ability to use the sunglasses in circumstances when there is lower amounts light.
Digital Single Vision Lenses
A digital single vision lens is great for any patient. Rather than using a pre-fabricated lens blank, a digital lens will be optimized for the individual patient. The result is a single vision lens that has a much tighter tolerance and enhanced clarity from edge to edge. This is especially the case for patients with higher prescriptions. A digital SV lens is best suited for these patients they have have the highest potential for distortion and aberration within their lenses.
Patients with high amounts of sphere and/or cylinder powers should be prescribed a digital lens which will take into consideration the position-of-wear measurements (wrap, vertex and tilt) in order to calculate a compensated prescription. Digital lenses that have been fabricated with a compensated Rx will enhance the patient’s visual acuity and reduce eye strain.
Digital Progressive Lenses
Just like the digital SV lens, a digital progressive starts with a raw piece of material and cuts a lens which is optimal for each individual patient. Traditional progressives arrive at the lab with the progressive portion already ground into the front surface of the lens. Each lens blank has a range of prescriptions it is designed to accommodate. Scripts that reach towards the outer limits of their designated tolerances often offer less than optimal vision and comfort for the patient. Patients with a traditionally manufactured progressive will notice an unnecessary amount of peripheral distortion in their lenses. In addition, a traditional progressive will have a pre-determined length between the distance and near viewing portions of the lens which will add limitations to the patient’s choices in frames.
Since digital lenses are ground from a raw piece of material, rather than a pre-manufactured lens blank. Digital lenses allow the optician to expand the range of visual solutions that can be prescribed to the patient. All digital lenses share one thing in common, the entire prescription, including the progressive, is ground into the ocular surface of the lens. As a result of the optics of the lenses being closer to the eye, the patient is almost always granted wider viewing areas than a traditional progressive lens can offer.
With this in mind it should be noted that not all digital lenses are created equal. There are several tiers of lenses that are designated as “digital” progressives but may not offer the same benefits as other designs.
The most beneficial digital progressive is referred to as a digital free-form lenses, such as the Physio Enhanced Fit. Digital free-form lenses incorporates the position of wear measurements in order to create a compensated prescription. Doing so affords the patient enhanced comfort and clarity. The Physio enhanced is also a variable curved lens, similar to an aspheric. The variable curve allows for an increase in the effective viewing area of the lens.
Any digital lens will allow for a pair of lenses that surpass a traditional progressive in quality, so long as they have been fit properly. This feature becomes much more beneficial to the patient that desires to utilize the extra accessible space they have in a frame with a higher B measurement. It also helps to optimize the amount of intermediate correction for the patient that may need a frame with a smaller B measurement.
Digital lenses are beneficial to all patients but they should especially be considered for those with higher sphere, cylinder or add powers. More specifically, patients with higher scripts should be prescribed a progressive that takes into consideration the position-of-wear measurements so that a compensated prescription can be calculated and utilized in the fabrication of the lens. Patients that fit into this category and are being fit into a fully customized digital progressive will notice a great deal of benefit in their peripheral vision, visual comfort and clarity. Even greater improvements will be seen by these patients when they are prescribed the fully customized variable curved progressives.