Article Date: 8/1/2011

Is There an <i>App</i> for That?
spectacle focus

Is There an App for That?

Consider offering high-quality lenses, including progressives, in an hour.

Richard Shuster, O.D.

Can your practice benefit from a technology that lets you produce progressive or single-vision lenses — including AR, polarized and/or photochromic lens treatments — in less than an hour? If so, then my experiences with the QSpex Technologies in-office lens system may interest you.

Features

In February, my practice — a mid-sized location in the northern suburbs of Atlanta — was selected as one of five initial beta test sites for the system. I found the system distinguished itself with:

a small footprint. The filling and curing units sit on its three-foot by two-foot inventory cabinet.
disposable plastic molds.
a high-quality seven-layer AR vacuum coating with hydrophobic and oleophobic properties.

But perhaps the best feature is lens quality. The progressive optics design is free of peripheral distance blur or distortion. In fact, patients report that their vision with QSpex lenses is comparable to that of vision with free-form lenses from leading manufacturers.

QSpex lenses are scratch-resistant-coated. Lens treatments are pre-applied by QSpex to the inside surface of each mold, and these transfer to become part of the lens during the polymerization (curing) process. (Polarized and photochromic features will be available later this year, according to QSpex.)

In terms of operating efficiency, the system requires about five minutes of hands-on time per pair of lenses. The remaining steps in the 35-minute production time (for either progressive or single vision lenses) require no operator attention, freeing my staff to perform other duties, such as attending to patients or edging lenses.

The QSpex system requires five minutes of hands-on time to produce a pair of lenses.

Practice benefits

The combination of efficiency and quality lenses has created new opportunities for my practice. For example, we recently made a pair of progressive lenses with AR coating in under an hour for a new patient who wanted same-day service. He couldn't find this kind of service in metro-Atlanta, even though it's a saturated and very competitive market. (Our best labs require a three- to four-day delivery for a progressive AR coated lens.)

The system also puts control back in our hands. The last thing any practice wants is “bad news” from its lab that a pair of progressive lenses — destined for a patient, who refers family and friends — will be delayed. By producing inhouse, we control the delivery date.

Target patients

In May, we used the QSpex system to produce slightly more than 11.5% of the total lenses dispensed. Currently, I target privatepay and EyeMed patients whose prescriptions can be filled with the mold parameters I have in the device's cabinet. As the power range and treatment options continue to expand, we expect to use the system on 30+% of our pairs. We also anticipate the technology will allow us to better sell second pairs, due to fast turnaround.

The entire system — equipment, inventory cabinet, 628 molds (to make clear and AR single vision and progressive lenses) and 10 bags of monomer (each bag makes one pair of lenses) — cost less than $4,000. While pricing for replacement molds and monomer varies depending on volume, my cost to make a single pair of hard-coated, digitally-designed progressive lenses was less than $39.

For more information, visit the company's website, www.QSpex.com, and look for its debut in your area within the coming year. OM


DR. SHUSTER IS IN PRIVATE PRACTICE. HE OWNS PEACHTREE CORNERS EYE CLINIC IN NORCROSS, GA.

Optometric Management, Issue: August 2011