Why Can’t I Use Expired nanoCLEAR AR Chemistry?

Since our AR chemistries rely heavily on nanoparticles to give them toughness and the right optical properties, they require a little more care than our other materials. To figure out how long they last we did long-term testing here at high, low, and room temperatures. We also thought about what they’d go through in normal storage and shipping. If you use your AR chemistry by the expiration date we expect your lenses to perform just as ours do here. If it’s past the expiration date or was stored incorrectly things aren’t as predictable.

Spending a long time at extreme temperatures or even just sitting around will eventually cause the nanoparticles to stick together. Once that happens their properties change and so do the coatings that are made with them. Expired chemistry can give you hazy coatings or ones that aren’t nearly as tough as they should be. It can also clog up the dispense filters in your nanoCLEAR unit or cause other coating defects like comets.

If we didn’t have to have an expiration date we wouldn’t use one. At this time nanoparticle-based liquid chemistries of all kinds just tend to have shorter shelf lives than those without them. If we figure out a way around it, you can bet we’ll use it. For now though, the expiration date is something we need.

Is it All About Index?

Simple Answer: No

It’s easy to get swept up in the excitement over a single number: higher index must be better. The simplicity is enticing. As with many technical topics, the reality is that a single performance aspect doesn’t provide enough information to judge true product quality. The idea that a lens with a certain index of refraction is a dead product or the next great thing just isn’t correct.

The More Technical Answer: Still No

If you’re into numbers, beyond index you also have to look at Abbe value, surface smoothness, processing-related deviation from target curves, required center and edge thickness (both for safety and the requirements of the frame it’s going in), lens power, your patient’s tolerance of chromatic dispersion, their eye movement patterns, the conscientiousness and equipment quality of the lab you’re using, etc. If you think it’s a lot to digest, imagine what it’s like for a patient trying to make the right decision.

Back To Simple: What’s the Wearer Say?

If you don’t want to spend the rest of your life trying to understand the minutia of every new lens that comes out, ask the people that have experience with the product. Optical Dynamics lenses have been judged by wearers and experts as some of best lenses they’ve encountered. Whether it’s a single vision or multifocal lens, people are impressed with the clarity and ease of patient adaptation. In the end, that’s really all those technical details are trying to convey anyway. Instead of using a bunch of time trying to decide if “the next great thing” is really that great, using a proven lens that wearers like can be safer and simpler.

The less simple explanation for the high praise we’ve received is that our lenses have exceptionally smooth surfaces, they precisely replicate the digital curves machined into our molds, and they are made from a lightweight, high Abbe polymer. Since the process eliminates the grinding and polishing steps normally used to make a lens, there are far fewer opportunities for machine or operator issues to cause optical problems.

A Fly In the High-Index Soup

The vexing thing about high-index lens materials is that the very people that need them most are also the most likely to experience one of their typical shortcomings. The more extreme the prescription, the more likely it is the wearer will be troubled by chromatic aberration in lower Abbe materials. For the most part, indices around the low 1.6’s are about the current limit on good Abbe performance. If you’re worried about chromatic dispersion, you can’t increase index greatly beyond where Optical Dynamics lenses are, so there’s not much thickness improvement to be gained. There can be significant cost differences though.

So if you have a moderate to low prescription where you don’t need the benefits of a high-index lens, high-index materials work very reliably. Hmmm, not the best story. It’s even less motivating when you think about the center and edge thicknesses required to produce a safe and sturdy lens for today’s rimless frames.

Don’t Just Take Our Word On It

When we say you should be using our lenses, there’s obviously a little bias involved. For a more impartial opinion, here’s what one of our customers has to say about them:

“Over the past couple years I have personally worn some of the “best” custom made progressive lenses available and the optics of the digital lenses from the Q-2100 are as good if not better. I am extremely impressed with the digital lenses the system produces and so are my patients.”

David Holliday, OD – Practicing since 1980 – Q-2100 user since 2000

Can I Use Different Chemicals to Clean My Molds and Lenses?

Cleaning chemicalsIt can be tempting to try to save a few pennies by using industrial chemicals or household cleaners to clean molds and lenses. Unfortunately there’s no way to know exactly what’s in a lot of these cleaners or to be sure that you’ll get the same thing twice even if you buy the same product. “Simple” things like denatured alcohol aren’t safe either; there are hundreds of different denaturing chemicals and processes. How these things will affect the casting process and equipment isn’t easy to predict.

Our cleaners use the minimum number of ingredients necessary to get the job done. There are no colorants or scents added. Since we control the formulations, we also ensure that only high-purity components go in them. It’s the only way we can be sure they will be effective while also being friendly to your molds and lenses. If you stick with our cleaners you don’t have to worry about contaminating your molds, affecting the casting process, or damaging your lens coatings.

Casting, It’s a Good Thing

So as a staff member, why would I want to cast lenses?

Job security: Ever think it’d be easier to just call a lab and have the lenses made? It is easy. In fact it’s so easy that pretty much anyone can do it. Making lenses requires a little more effort, but it also makes you an integral part of the transaction. The person that makes the lenses is harder to do without than the person that orders them. Making lenses in-house also makes the practice you work for more profitable!

It’s pretty cool: Do you ever think about the direct output of your efforts helping people see? You’re making something that improves their lives. You’re not just an order taker and delivery box. Some stores can’t even tell you what kind of lenses they’re selling. The corporate office or lab decides that for them and doesn’t feel the need to tell customers. If you make the lenses you’ll know more about how they behave and how they should be used. You become a more important part of your customers’ lives.

Keep it local: With economic worries and political unrest around the globe, more people are deciding they’d rather spend their time and money at local businesses. Let your customers know you’re actually MAKING their lenses at your store on equipment that’s made in the USA. If you need something out of range, our lab can probably surface it for you and it’ll still be made in the USA (we cast our own blanks in Louisville, KY and surface them in the same lab).

Differentiate yourself and the business: Remember earlier when we were talking about how easy it is to phone an order in? With Internet eyeglass retailers growing, the consumer can easily “phone in” a prescription too. It’s important to give the customer something they can’t get online, so they’ll want to come to your store. Whether it’s a quick turnaround, intimate knowledge of lenses and materials, or the fact that you’re going to personally make the lenses for the user, you have the opportunity to give your customers something a little more special. There are still lots of people that value a personal touch and want to build relationships with the businesses they frequent. Don’t underestimate the importance of those parts of the transaction.

And remember Casters Do it Better!