The optical marketplace has become oversaturated with products and buzz words, making it confusing for consumers. Below, I will try to provide some insight to help you with your next optometry/optical purchase.
Eye exams are the first part of the process, so let’s start there. The most important part of the eye exam is assessing eye health. Retinal imaging is an important tool during an eye health evaluation. This can range from fundus photography to the top of the line imaging known as an OCT. OCT’s scan through the layers of the retina to detect conditions like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Numerous other ocular health technologies exist such as osmolarity testing for dry eye, topography for contact lens fitting, visual fields for testing peripheral vision, and NCT/pachymetry for measuring eye pressures. Today’s modern office should have access to these instruments, in order to provide a comprehensive evaluation of your eye health.
Selecting a lens is confusing with all of the optical jargon and lack of information. Polycarbonate lenses are a type of safety lens with lower quality optics. Trivex is a material with a similar safety profile and much better optics. A lens should be aspheric, digital, aberration free, and strong to avoid warpage. One of the most important parts of a quality plastic lens is the coating. Good coatings have scratch resistance, smudge resistance, glare reduction, and UV protection. We use a Crizal coating on all of our single vision lenses, which has all of these features. Digital lenses allow for maximum customization, as they are computer generated during surfacing. All recent lens designs are digital. The newest progressive lenses use an internal freeform design allowing them to be digitally customized on the front and back surface of the lens. This increases the width of the vision corridor to decrease peripheral distortion. In order to digitally customize a lens, a fitting device must take a picture of you wearing your frame. We use Zeiss lenses for our progressive freeform lenses. It is a high-quality lens brand that also makes lenses for the Hubble telescope, surgical microscopes, and digital cameras. Quality ensures comfort, clarity and maximized vision.
Today, there are so many brands of contact lenses to choose from it is terribly misleading and confusing. There are still some older lens materials in the marketplace, especially with on-line suppliers, that have low oxygen permeability. The front of the cornea gets all of its oxygen from the atmosphere, so it is important for a lens to be permeable to oxygen. This is often measured with a value called Dk/T. Older lens materials usually have a value in the 20’s or 30’s, while newer silicone hydrogel lenses often have a value over 110. Silicone hydrogels are much healthier products and can provide superior comfort.