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Thread: Free-form technology

  1. #1
    OptiBoard Professional Karlen McLean's Avatar
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    Free-form technology

    Hey, y'all. Who uses the new free-form lens technolgy? What are the differences between free-form PALs and traditional PALs? Do you and your patients see a difference?

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    Karlen Cole Hey, y'all. Who uses the new free-form lens technolgy?
    Last I read only a few large labs were "experimenting" with this technology in the US.

    Some of the main stream lense manufacturers use free form in Europe. We have used the Zeiss Individual lense for some accounts; never heard back from them, must have been OK.
    Joseph Felker
    AllentownOptical.com

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    sub specie aeternitas Pete Hanlin's Avatar
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    Actually, "freeform" is just a process used to make a lens- any lens. You can make any PAL using freeform technology (Adaptar, VIP, etc)- if you have the datapoints provided to you.

    Customization, on the other hand, is more relevent to the actual design of the lens. Freeform processing gives the potential for some truly customized designs. Unfortunately, most of the lenses I've seen aren't really all that "custom." Sure, the base curve may change for each step in Rx, but the improvement is only going to be minimal at best. Also, most of the "custom" PALs claim to change progression length and inset- however, there are modern front-side molded "traditional" PALs that already do this (Comfort and Panamic being two of them).

    Rodenstock and Zeiss each "customize" the progression to match the fitting characteristics of the frame- but the measurements (vertex distance, pantoscopic tilt, etc) are difficult to make. Plus, once frames are dispensed, they rarely stay in their "as dispensed" position anyway- so the "customization" is negated.

    I think Varilux Ipseo (which was announced at the NSM here in San Diego just yesterday) will be a relatively interesting PAL for the market. Varilux Ipseo is customized to the way the wearer moves his/her head and eyes (which is measured using the Vision Print System).

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    Question Ipseo?

    Ok Pete, you've got my attention.

    Upon reading your post I ran, yes literally, to our one and only new progressive identifier. Can you divulge a little more info about this lens?

    How is it comparable to the technolgy which produces lenses ground from a solid blank, completely generated & finished on one machine. Is this what you're talking about here?

    P.S. I am a Hoya employee, consequently. Jane.

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    That Boy Ain't Right Blake's Avatar
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    From what I've read, free-form surfacing uses CNC (computer-numerically controlled) machining, which is what allows it to produce lenses such as aspherics and progressives. Data known as point files are uploaded to the machine which provide the necessary curves, etc. These point files are provided by the lens designer, and may be a common design such as VIP, or something totally new.
    In my opinion, it's the wave of the future. Why bother stocking all manner of base curves and add powers when you can put a generic lens blank in and get a PAL out?
    My interest in the subject is the engineering behind it more so than the dispensing side, but I would assume the quality of the free form lenses is as good, if not better than the rest.


    Blake

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    Wink Groovy name

    My oldest is Blake, veeery smart kid, and not just because I'm the mom, nope, no bias here!

    Alas, I feel as if the technology is unattainable @ my level as I'm just a slob at the bottom of the optical gene pool. What were you reading? Is there a place you can direct me?

    Pete, have you suddenly taken a vow of silence or is it possible you Actually have something better to do on your weekends.

    :D
    Jane

  7. #7
    That Boy Ain't Right Blake's Avatar
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    The article was by Joseph Bruneni. I believe it was in Lenses & Technology. It was just a trade magazine. nothing too scholarly. Heck, I understood it! :D


    Blake

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    Free-Form Technology

    Happy New Year Everyone,

    I agree that Free-Form technology is as good as the design.

    Let's add Shamir Insight's Autograph ... the best design I have seen.

    Yes, Free-Form technology is a process by which data point files are sent electronically. This technology has been utilized to make lens molds in the past, and now, super-computers allow us to take it to the back surface.

    So, lets talk design, WITHOUT having to take complicated measurements:

    When analyzing a progressive lens design, I would look for the following:

    1. No "excessive cylinder" (i.e. "distortion") above the 180.

    2. Less than a 1:1 ratio of distortion/add power

    (Example: if the add power is +2.00D, there can be no more than 1.87 or less unwanted cyl ANYWHERE on the plot). And, mimnimal amounts of excess cylinder are methodically placed in right and left designs to cancel out as the eye rotates back and forth. (symmetric/asymmetric).

    3. We agree that, to define "corridor length" in regard to minimum fitting heights, we include AT LEAST 5 mm for a vertical near add. (No 85% of the add, just the full add). We need 100% of the add...no bumping add power!

    4. Designed and engineered to mirror the eyes viewing habits, without the dispenser having to take complicated measurements.
    (i.e. "Eye Point Technology").

    5. Contour topography charts that compare apples to apples. That is, distortion increments of 0.50 diopters.


    : )

    Laurie




    (disclosure):

    I have always favored specific lens designs and never really heard of Shamir Insight. Upon meeting Shamir's CEO, Raanan Naftalovich, and learning about their design philosophies, I was optically hooked. Presently, as well as being a long term opticianry faculty member at Hillsborough Community College, I also serve as education consultant to Shamir Insight.
    Last edited by Laurie; 01-14-2004 at 11:23 AM.

  9. #9
    I have dispensed a few of the Gradal Individuals...

    "The world just opened up"

    "Wow... This is cool"

    "Oh my god I can see all the way over there (to the sides)"

    Real quotes from real patients.

    Just to add a bit to what is said above. Using freeform atoric curves can be fabricated that connot be made on a traditional generator. This gives a better panoramic view and krisper image to a high astigmatic. Also do not understate customizing curves on both sides of the lens for Hyperopes. it is a huge improvement from what I have seen thus far.

    mrba

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    The Potential is There -

    The new ‘freeform’ generators, (although I don’t think they like them called that) is still in the early stages. It is easy to cut a progressive or aspheric single vision – if you have the point data. However, few manufacturers have released the proprietary information. Until they do, the use of these machines will be limited.

    First off. Currently I think that only 2 progressives and 1 aspheric single vision design is inherent in the software. What is at issue with the lens suppliers is “how do they get paid for use” since there would be no physical lens sale. One method would be to buy X number of uses – like we do with postage meters. It counts down until the usage counter reaches some pre-determined level, and advises the lab to purchase more uses. This could all be handled electronically. There are many details within that discussion like – how is spoilage handled, non-adapts, etc. The debate goes on.

    Secondly, the machines are not real quick when cutting lenses of this nature. So as a replacement production machine, they have a ways to go. If memory serves, it seems the machines averaged about 3 minutes per lens. Give or take some for various materials.

    Thirdly, fining and polishing is still similar to conventional fining/polishing, but there are limits to the ranges. Ideally, the process should be cut-to-coat (notice I did not say cut-to-polish). And if they can achieve that, then it will be a real cost saver.


    I do believe there is great potential for this technology, if they can survive long enough to iron out the details. Micro Optics’ design – off topic a bit, originally showed great potential as well. Unfortunately, they ended up declaring bankruptcy. (I understand they have new funding and are working again.) Several labs have purchased some of the ‘freeform’ machines, and they can help with cleaning up some of this if they are willing to live through the R&D phases.

    Forgetting about the current obstacles for a moment…
    1) PD problems (remember those when frame sizes were larger?) could be heavily reduced. Nothing within the machines forces you to cut a progressive with the channel in a pre-determined location. The patient’s requirements could be part of the cutting process. I need the channel eight mm’s from horizontal center – easy. I need the fitting cross (or optical center) six above vertical blank center – easy. Aspheric single vision lenses need not be centered either resulting in past PD issues. However, fining and polishing certain ‘off-sets’ might be more difficult, but I said forget about current obstacles didn’t I?
    2) Lens inventory could be greatly reduced. All you need to stock (use) with this methodology is single vision blanks. That’s not to say that “costs” would be equally reduced. Somewhere down the line, the lens manufacturer has to be paid. However, the cost should be less, since no physical lens (and box, and shipping costs) is used.
    Easiest way would be to use semi-finished with (more-or-less) standard base configurations. The entire Rx is cut atoric. Although if needed, both sides could be cut (much slower) to create a unique set of curves for the patient’s needs. Including splitting powers to both sides. The process would apply to either progressives or aspherics.

    The possibilities are very open.

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