Article Date: 5/1/2008

Minimize Optical-Lab Errors
instrumental strategies

Minimize Optical-Lab Errors

Device lessens chance for errors, saves time and increases practice income.


When my clients ask me to recommend a specific piece of equipment, I only suggest devices that I've personally seen increase patient satisfaction, save the practitioner and his staff time and increase practice profitability. I've found that the Alta XS finishing system, from Briot USA meets these criteria because it minimizes the errors associated with creating eyewear, which, in turn, increases profitability.

Minimizes errors

The Alta XS includes six features that decreases the chance of errors when creating eyewear:

1. Large, high-resolution touch screen. I've found that the size of the device's screen makes navigating through its various command options easy, facilitating its operation and therefore lessening the likelihood of mistakes. This, in turn, increases patient satisfaction, as spectacle wearers are able to obtain their finished eyewear from a practice without delay. In addition, this feature can save you and/or your optical staff time because you'll be less likely to have to re-do a job. Finally, because patients appreciate a well-made product delivered fast, they'll be sure to sing your praises to their spectacle-wearing friends, who purchase their eyewear elsewhere.

2. Shape library. This feature organizes patient data. You can easily access this data through criteria such as "Sort," "Search" and "Favorites," using an alpha-numeric keypad. The shape library minimizes mistakes, as you and/or your optical staff can store patient information in one area. As a result, there's no need for loose papers or multiple data banks, which can cause confusion. Because this feature stores patient data, it enables the quick delivery of quality eyewear, which creates patient satisfaction. Also, this feature saves you and/or your optical staff time, as it eliminates frame retraces.

Alta XS

HEIGHT: tracer/blocker 23 inches; edger 22.5 inches
WIDTH: tracer/blocker 13 inches; edger 20 inches
LENGTH: tracer/blocker 20 inches; edger 24 inches
COST: $17,105 to $48,410 (depending on the configuration.)

Further, because the shape library stores patient data, it enables you and/or your optical staff to create eyewear fast. A higher rate of production of eyewear, leads to a higher bottom line.

3. Blue light illumination. Obtaining the correct segment height and pupillary distance (PD) on tinted or polarized lenses during the centering process can be very difficult because you can't see the markings. The Alta XS features a blue-light illumination that senses and automatically adjusts the intensity of the light in order to show through lenses regardless of whether they're tinted, polarized, mirror coated or just clear. This enables accurate lens blocking, precluding errors and therefore providing the patient with optimal vision. In addition, the blue-light illumination saves you and/or your optical staff time, as scrutinizing these lenses for the right center — which can lead to mistakes and a delay in the fabrication of eyewear — isn't required. Further, if you take the time to educate your patients about this feature, they may be more likely to purchase prescription sunwear from you in addition to their spectacles, increasing your practice's profitability.

4. Briot's Digiform software. This software allows you to change rimless lens shapes by altering A or B measurements, so you can meet your patient's lifestyle and cosmetic needs. The Digiform software truly gives you the ability to make "custom" eyewear for each patient. So, you can stretch the A measurement for patients who have large heads, or you can lengthen the "B" measurement for patients who need more reading room in their progressive segment. Because this software places less of a limitation on frame selection for patients with special prescriptions, such as high myopes or presbyopes, it creates patient satisfaction. Also, the Briot Digiform software can save you and/or your optical staff time because its various features reduce the likelihood of mistakes, such as cutting too much off the reading add of a progressive lens. Finally, this feature may augment your practice's profitability because your patients with special prescriptions will be so thrilled that they now have more frame options, they'll refer their friends and family who've been told by their practitioners that their prescription limits their frame choice.

5. Pattern Recognition Optical System (PROS) imaging system. This system instantly recognizes demo lenses and lens patterns, enabling it to reveal, via the Alta XS' color touch screen, the exact placement of drill holes (up to 10 holes or slots per lens). The system displays the lens type, optical center, shape, axis and drill coordinates. My clients appreciate this feature because its accuracy guarantees sturdy, long-lasting drill mounts. This ensures patient satisfaction, as it minimizes the chance of broken spectacles. Further, this feature saves you and/or your optical staff time, as it doesn't require a manual drill-hole placement assessment, which can lead to mistakes that require job re-dos. Because the PROS imaging system is a time-saving feature, it can enable you to create quality eyewear fast, which translates to many jobs and, therefore, an increase in your practice profitability.

6. Alta NX Edger. This separate device, which many practitioners pair with the Alta XS, automatically tilts up to 30° when drilling, grooving and safety beveling, enabling the user to approach the lens at whatever angle he wants, depending on the frame requirements. It also allows the user to control the curve of the "v" bevel or groove, and its placement on the lens by millimeters or percentages from the front and rear of the lens. Further, it offers a range of depth and width options for grooving. These control options help achieve precision in fitting the lens to the frame, especially with high base curves and difficult bevels. This device creates patient satisfaction, as it ensures precision fitting. And, because it ensures precision fitting, it saves you and/or your optical staff from spending time in fixing unsteady drill mounts or other rimless mountings. Also, this device may increase your practice's bottom line because patients appreciate a secure fitting pair of spectacles and may refer others to your practice for this service.

Patient satisfaction, saving valuable practice time and lessening the likelihood of mistakes all lead to an increase in practice profitability. The Alta XS offers all these benefits. OM


Optometric Management, Issue: May 2008