As a wholesale optical lab, we do not wake up in the morning hoping we can create issues for you and your patients. It is actually the exact opposite. We love the fact that by partnering with you and your practice, we're able to provide your patients with the best vision possible.
Along with this, we like to be part of creating a great looking pair of glasses in a timely manner. Many of our customers do their own edging so we often don't get to see the frame. Also, we are never part of patient purchase process and are left to deal with the positive/negative that can come from this.
While in the past, we only had to worry about cutout on plus prescriptions, the optical world has changed. Today’s modern generators allow for us to crib the lens down to a small blank size. This provides for a better surface finish and faster edging with less wear on finishing equipment. With most digital lenses and freeform progressives the final blank size is chosen from an outside lab management system.
In an effort to ensure fast turn time, proper cutout, and good cosmetics there are 4 key areas that you as our customer can help give us the ability to provide your patient with a great pair glasses.
1) Proper Frame Measurements
This is paramount on uncut lenses to ensure cutout and proper thickness. We simply ask for an A, B, ED, and DBL. The A, B, and DBL are easily measured but most folks do not give us the proper ED (effective diameter) measurement.
The ED measurement is the measurement from the geometric center of the lens to the furthest point, multiplied by 2. Most just take a diagonal measurement and give that as the ED. This works with a true round or rectangle shapes but most lenses do not fall within this parameter.
If time does not allow for you to take a proper ED measurement we would recommend adding 2mm to the diagonal measurement to ensure cutout.
2) Use Frame Shape Options
When processing uncut lenses, most lab management systems will choose a shape based upon the supplied measurements. While this is often accurate, it's an educated guess when we've only been provided the measurements and not the actual shape.
With this knowledge, we offer the ability to pick from 17 shapes when placing your order on the myicarelab.com customer portal. This can be accessed at the top of our order page in a drop down menu. We recommend printing the shape chart out and keeping it within view of the computer.
Taking the extra few seconds to choose the proper shape could save days of delay on a job that either does not cutout or arrives a bit too thick.
3) Pick Your Base Curves
Lens manufactures pick base curves based upon the best optics. This is done on the bases of the back side (convex side) of the lens being as close to a 6 curve as possible. While this is important for optics it does not always work well for cosmetics.
We do understand the difficulties our customers face when trying to dispense a pair of birth control glasses (BCG's as our brave women and men in the military refer to them).
Most of your customers would either like to get married one day or if already, would like to stay that way. This might not be possible with an ugly pair of glasses (of course I'm joking!).
As we do not have the frame on uncut orders we have to leave it up to you to give us a proper base curve for the frame you are using. By using the proper base curve based upon the frame curve you will have a pair of lenses that are easier to edge and be much more cosmetically appealing.
We also recommend, when possible, to match the base curve of your patient’s current lenses. Should you be dealing with a first time wearer or changed designs this will help with the adaptation process with progressives. Base curve adjustment issues can also occur with single vision and bifocal lenses as well.
4) Proper Frame Fit
As someone who has worked in retail in the past, I understand how hard it can be to talk a patient out of a poor frame decision. I feel for you and do not want this next recommendation to hurt your feelings. But, with this in mind, here I go…..
I have had many, maybe hundreds if not thousands of conversations with customers regarding thick, ugly glasses with high powers. Most of them sound something like this….
"I just received my job for patient so and so and they look terrible. The edge thickness is 6.6mm thick!" Followed by some name calling and questions to just what our final inspectors are inspecting.
After calmly listening to this, I pull up the job and see that it is a +6.50 in a 58/18 frame for a petite lady with a 50 PD.
I then ask what the thin edge is and find that it is somewhere around 1.4mm.
Here is where the fun really begins: I have to inform the ECP that there is nothing more we can do to make that Rx in that frame look any better as there is 16mm of decentration on a +6.50. They now have a pair of BCG's.
To repeat, I have been there and understand; but at some point, as the ECP, we need to set realistic expectations for our customer.
While a good-looking designer frame is important, having a customer with 2 hockey pucks for lenses will not fly. We need to be doing our best to visualize what the final product will look like and paint this picture to the customer. You will not win many of these battles but will at least have the satisfaction of telling your patient "I told you so" when they go sideways on you over their ugly lenses due to their choices.
It is hard out there in the retail world, that is why I am happy and content here on the wholesale side of this crazy business. We here at IcareLabs will continue giving you our best, but the real magic happens when we partner up.
Our best will always be better with some help from you. Together we can re-create perfect vision in a timely manner and make it look good!
Don't forget to head over to our Resource Center for all your ECP and point-of-purchase needs.