Article Date: 6/1/2006

instrumental strategies
Offer Patients Custom Eye Wear
New lab software finally meets retail optical's needs.

In our four luxury boutiques, we specialize in custom work — we do more than 70% drill mounts. To keep up with the amount of rimless eye wear we were processing, we looked for a retail lab edger that drills in the chamber perpendicular to the base curve, of up to at least an 8-base lens. This maximizes the tensile strength in the lenses and reduces re-dos for lens cracking or fracturing at the drill points.

We invested in a Santinelli edger and blocker and used the equipment with great success. However, due to our steadily increasing volume of rimless work, we needed even more capacity and capability.  

Made-to-order eye wear

In March 2005, we purchased Santinelli's Fashion Lab (developed by Activisu Solutions), a Windows-based rimless shape designer and job management application software. The software allows us to create an electronic frame pattern from an integrated catalog of shapes and chassis or from a connected lens/frame tracer. You can customize this electronic pattern in two ways:

1) Modify the lens shape using a drawing function, and/or

2) Relocate the drill coordinates for optimal placement.

This capability provides true customization by combining any lens shape with any manufactur-er's chassis.

The Fashion Lab

Job management system, custom rimless designer
Works with any Vision Council of America-compliant edger
Obtains lens shape data from a tracer, an internally-managed database or subscription services
Works with any digital camera
Memory stores up to 10,000 jobs/patterns/shapes
Can transmit data to a remote lens-finishing facility
COST: $6,500 (includes 90-day technical telephone support).

We take a digital photo of the patient and download it to the software. Viewing the photo, we locate the patient's pupils with the target cursor of the mouse. The software's artificial intelligence automatically sizes the photo, based on the pupillary distance, to accommodate the electronic lens and chassis overlay. With the patient, we select from a database of pre-defined lens shapes and chassis and view the virtual eye wear on the patient's photo. This is the starting point for creating their custom spectacles. They are invariably impressed.

It's made a difference

With Fashion Lab, we have already seen a 20% increase in our lab's productivity. It's now possible to replace only one lens after a prescription change or lab spoilage on a drill mount, which saves 50% of the re-do cost. 

The software's job management feature also allows us to enter prescription, lens shape, chassis selection, finishing and delivery instructions into its database via easy-to-use screens. This data is then sent automatically to our edger and archived for future reference. The software can also transmit data to a remote lens finishing facility. We can process any drill mount with the same ease as a full frame in minutes.

It's a patient pleaser

We can also send patients home with a photo of themselves "wearing" the custom lenses they designed in our office. Best of all, we provide them with personalized eye wear they can't get anywhere else!


Optometric Management, Issue: June 2006