Treatments and Technology

Now that we understand the different types of lenses available, in the materials that we can make them out of, I want to talk to you about the different enhancements or treatments and technology that are available to add to those different lenses in order to enhance your patient’s life even further.

Let's talk about scratch coatings. Now scratch coating is a scratch-resistant coating, not a scratch-proof coating. You'll actually hear some patients tell you that their lenses were supposed to be scratch-proof, which is why it's important when I’m first talking to you about lenses, that you understand that no lens is scratch proof. But we can add a scratch-resistant coating that will allow us to create a lens that is a little bit more durable. But it also comes with the added benefit from most labs of a warranty for scratch replacement when it does get scratched, so it's important to check with your lab to understand the length of that warranty and how many times i can scratch it and get it replaced for free so that you can educate your patient on that.

Next, let's talk about ultraviolet or UV protection. Now, this is something that with the exception of CR-39 is actually inherent in the rest of our lens materials out there. UV protection is something that we can add to the lens if you want to add further UV protection against the harmful Rays from the Sun or from some electronic devices as well.

Now, let’s talk about anti-glare or anti-reflective treatments. Now for a lot of patients, anti-glare refers to night time. When I'm looking at lights, I see halos, I see starburst, I see a little bit of double image or shadowing. Those are higher-order aberrations that we notice in our vision more at night time because the pupil gets larger and allows more light in so we see more errors that exist in our eyes. Now the other part is anti-reflective so when I'm looking at someone in a pair of glasses or if you look at all of the frames that are on your frame boards right now, you’ll notice a lot of those lenses have a lot of reflections on them because they're not equipped with anti-reflective technology. so it can benefit the way we see but it can also benefit what people see what when they look at us in our glasses. There are a lot of different anti-glare and anti-reflective treatments out there, so it's really important that you understand the different ones available and what you do and doesn't get with different lens technologies. I personally prefer what we refer to as premium anti-glare technology, so I want it to be hydrophobic. Meaning that repels water. I wanted to be oleophobic. Meaning that it repels oils so when I touch it they're not filthy all the time and makes it easier to clean. And a lot of time they will negatively charge the lens so that they don't get dusty very easily either. So just make sure that when you're talking about those different options with your patient that they understand what they're getting for the different options and how they can benefit from something that is a little bit better.

Now I want to talk to you about blue light. We all hear it all the time now and with increased usage in electronic devices we need to understand that those devices are actually being thought to emit harmful blue light or the blue portion of the UV spectrum into our eyes which can cause things like cataracts or increase our chances for macular degeneration. So blue light technology helps protect your patients from those types of harmful rays.

Now I want to talk to you about tint. A tint on a lens is simply a lens that we dip in a certain color and let it cure. Now when I look through that lens, I see that color as I'm looking through and everything I see will have that hue or tint when I'm looking out of those lenses. Now when we talk about polarization, polarization is something that's meant for glare. So whether we're talking about looking at the water or looking at streets or windshields or anything with reflective surfaces, when you see glare looking at something, it's because as light reflects off of that surface, the light rays are sent in a multitude of directions and kind of spray all over the place. So polarization is actually meant to reduce or in some cases eliminate all of those different sprays of light, going all over the place and only allowing the light to come through your lens in one specific intentional direction so that we can see a little bit clearer without seeing all those different reflections of light.

Now mirror coatings are something that you can add to both darken a lens even further as well as add some aesthetics to the lens. So a mirror coating is something that is what it sounds, you can see yourself in it just like you can in a mirror. Mirrors come in a lot of different colors but unlike tints, if I put a red mirror on a lens, I don't see red when I look through the lens. It’s also really important to understand whether we’re talking about mirrors or tints, that you can get them as solid, meaning the same color and intensity throughout or gradient meaning maybe it gets lighter in that color or that mirror starts to fade as I look farther down the lens. Now that can be used for a lot of different materials but make sure you're looking at those differences.

Also when you're ordering your mirror, understand that you will come across flash mirrors and solid mirrors. Flash mirrors are what we saw a lot in the late 1990s where I would see a colored mirror on a lens but I can actually see through it and still see your eye. A solid mirror is one that when I look at it, I can't see through it in most cases unless I have some light coming from a different direction and it also makes the lens darker to look through.

Now finally we have photochromatic. Photochromatic is actually the technical term that a lot of people refer to as transitions. Transition lenses are actually just a brand of photochromic options that are available and there are quite a few different options depending on the lab that you use. These are the lenses that get dark when I go outside and get light when I come back inside. Now it's interesting a lot of this lens technology is actually triggered by UV rays which is why when you get in your car those lenses don't get dark or don't get as dark because your car windows actually block a lot of those UV rays as well. So it's important to understand when you're talking to your patients the different options are available and to educate them that these lenses won't always be as dark as you want them to be in different settings and depending on where you're sitting, if you're in your office, they might actually get a little bit dark there as well if you have sunlight coming through your windows.