Article Date: 2/1/2013

Choosing a Lens Material
optical

Choosing a Lens Material

Learn the benefits of mid- and high-index materials.

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DAVE ZIEGLER, O.D.

Although a change to a different lens material may challenge your comfort level, there are a great number of lens material options available today.

Mid-index materials, such as polycarbonate or Trivex, and high-index materials are great options for the majority of your patients since they provide excellent impact resistance, inherent UV protection and good aesthetics.

Let’s look at the benefits of these materials and how they can help change your practice.

Impact resistance

Polycarbonate and Trivex are safe lens materials, particularly when it comes to the risk of injury in children. Legal experts would say that if you use something other than polycarbonate in a child (some would argue even for an adult), you have the duty to warn them that safer products exist. I doubt many O.D.s are having patients sign a waiver if they are not used.

Comfort and appearance

Thin and light lenses are among my patient’s highest priorities, and mid-index and high-index lenses offer this benefit. And while polycarbonate used to have an edge that polished poorly, the labs now finish them beautifully. High-index materials are less likely to suffer stress cracks during drill mounts.

UV protection

The role of UV damage in ocular disease is well-understood. Cataract development, age-related macular degeneration and pterygium are all related to UV exposure. One of the biggest benefits of using mid- and high-index materials is that they all inherently block UV radiation. While other lenses, can be specially treated to block UV as well, it is unlikely that this is being done very often. It would add to the cost, which would defeat the reason some doctors choose them in the first place.

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Changing your ways

So where do you go from here? If you are not already, I suggest trying a mid-index material like polycarbonate or Trivex as your default lens material.

I tell patients, “In the past we used older plastics like you have been wearing. But new technology now allows us to make your lenses much thinner, lighter and safer against breaking and block out harmful UV radiation.”

You can switch to one of the high-index materials as needed for higher prescriptions when the power exceeds around 4.00D.

To streamline the presentation process, we build polycarbonate right into our lens packages. Not only will your patient be getting a thin, light and safe lens, but you will most likely be reimbursed at a high level from third-party plans.

For those who are reluctant, try it for a month and see for yourself how easily your patients accept and purchase these lens materials. OM

DR. ZIEGLER IS THE SENIOR PARTNER IN A GROUP PRIVATE PRACTICE IN MILWAUKEE, WISC., AND A FELLOW OF THE AMERICAN ACADEMY OF OPTOMETRY. E-MAIL HIM AT DZIEGLER@AMERITECH.NET, OR SEND COMMENTS TO OPTOMETRICMANAGEMENT@GMAIL.COM.



Optometric Management, Issue: February 2013, page(s): 69