EyeCare Professional’s Paul DiGiovanni, LDO, speaking with
Ralph Cotran, Co-Owner,
Please provide a brief history of US Optical.
US Optical was created on March 1, 2008 by myself and my two
brothers Ron and Robert. Previously we owned another lab,
Optogenics, which we sold to Essilor of America in 1999. We
decided to come back into the Independent lab business as we
were very excited about Free form, new lens technologies,
new AR coatings, digital equipment and the rapid innovation
in the optical industry.
We are entrepreneurs and wanted to create another viable
Independent lab to help consumers see better - much better -
and this time digitally better.
This focus, coupled with our unique 24HR turnaround on uncut
lenses, and very fast service on complete and edged jobs,
has catapulted US Optical to the fourth largest Independent
lab in the US. We are humbled by the support the independent
eye care professionals have given us.
US Optical is the largest supermarket of Free form lenses,
giving ECPs endless choices. We have also invested in
automation with 3 Free form generators and 6 digital
polishers, four Zeiss AR machines and two MEI edgers - the
fastest edger in the world that specializes in wrap
technology and drill mounts as well as conventional jobs.
US Optical is positioned to continue to lead the Independent
wholesale lab industry in the areas of new technologies,
Free form, turnaround time and superior finishing jobs.
What brands of lenses are available to your customers?
We provide the following lens brands: Zeiss, Shamir, Seiko,
Younger, Hoya, Sola, Vision-Ease, Essilor, Signet, Carrera
Xcede, Kbco, Pixel & US Optical Freeform. It is our goal to
give customers choices and we do this by increasing lens
selections and AR coatings. Our two newest products are Hoya
Free-Form and Zeiss Individual II Wrap Free Form technology.
We also have a large number of Zeiss AR coatings available.
In your opinion, what differentiates US Optical from its
What differentiates US Optical is our USP! (Unique Selling
Proposition) We provide our customers with 7 incredible
reasons to use US Optical and these are accompanied by 7
benefits that add thousands of dollars to the eye care
professional's bottom line!
FASTEST LAB IN AMERICA!™ ECP's will receive 24 hour
turnaround on uncut lenses (with or without Zeiss AR
coatings), and 3-5 working days turnaround on edged or
complete jobs. This service will WOW your customers and is
worth tens of thousands of dollars to your practice. It will
differentiate you from the pack. NO OTHER LAB CAN DO THIS!
Our turnaround time will give you a distinctive competitive
advantage. You will blow your competition away.
Family owned, independent just like our customers. Our
goal is to help you serve your customers, grow your business
profitably and make you happy. We understand your needs as
an Independent Professional.
Largest supermarket of brand Free form High Definition
lenses. You will be able to offer your customers endless
lens choices such as the Zeiss Individual II, Shamir
Autograph II, Seiko Surmount, Hoya ID and Essilor Definity.
We have recently launched our value line of US Optical
proprietary Free form HD lenses, such as the Ultimate HD™
and the Wrap HD™.
We are easy to work with. Our customer service is
extremely knowledgeable and will be helpful to your
practice. We answer all your questions promptly.
Our prices are Net, Competitive and Fair. All these
benefits, including our 24Hour service are equivalent to a
50% price value discount over any other lab! We do not
inflate our price pages!
We use the most advanced MEI edger in the world for Wraps
and Sunglass frames. (6 & 8 bases) Our proprietary SUN RX
Lens HD technology produces distortion free & cosmetically
beautiful sunglasses making your customers very happy and
your practice known as Sunglass RX experts!
We pioneer and specialize in new technologies such as
Free form lenses, PhotoFusion® by Zeiss, Transitions New
Vantage® polarized lenses, Carrera’s Xcede Sun RX, and
Pixel’s emPower!™ Electronic Eyeglasses. As our customer,
you will always know and have access to the finest and
latest optical technologies giving you an edge over the
What is the turn-around time for a standard job to be
completed and returned to the customer?
Finished jobs take between 3 to 5 working days from when we
receive the customer's frame (3 without AR and 5 with AR).
Add a day or two for drill mounts. Edged only jobs can be
produced in 3 days even with Zeiss AR coatings! (It pays for
an ECP to have a tracer as well.) Completed jobs are shipped
by either FedEx or UPS overnight.
What factors should ECPs consider when determining which lab
ECPs should look at VALUE. Does the lab they work with help
them make money.
You make money when your lab consistently executes with
delivery and quality and is willing to become a partner,
helping you with your challenges. Is customer service
friendly and proactive, are they knowledgeable? Does the lab
have reasonable pricing, fair policies and excellent
consistent turnaround time? If a problem or challenge occurs
will the lab take responsibility and fix the problem,
expedite a job or redo the job correctly? Do they have most
of the products that you need? Do they give you choices? Can
they handle your sunglasses? Will the managers pick up the
phone and talk to you when you need a special lens or have a
complex question? Are they EASY to work with? If you find
that most of the time the answer is YES, then you found the
lab that brings you VALUE.
We at US OPTICAL believe we are the best VALUE play in
America - besides being the FASTEST LAB IN AMERICA™. Value
is also all about profitability and ease of relationship for
the ECP. A win-win situation for the ECP and the Lab creates
Value and is a great result for the American consumer!
What’s new at US Optical?
US Optical is adding approximately 7,500 to 8,000 square
feet to its facility. We need extra room to keep up with our
fast turnaround, growth, personnel and service.
In addition we bought our second BISPHERA MEI edger which
will cut and edge 45 pairs of eyeglass lenses per hour and
will house this new edger and peripherals in this new
addition. Also another digital surfacing line with two
digital polishers will be purchased which will sit next to
the MEI edger. Because we are growing quite fast we will
need the expansion to increase our lens inventory and
additional space for our current employees as well as future
ones. We anticipate an additional 15 employees in the next
two to three years.
We will also be building another employee cafeteria in the
new space and moving some equipment from our current space
into the new space. This will allow us to increase our
customer service area which is very crowded currently. The
expansion is needed for further growth, new digital
equipment, and a new coating center, in line with our desire
to stay at the cutting edge of new technologies and continue
to be one of the leaders in lens digital manufacturing in
We also need to maintain our ability to turnaround jobs in
twenty four hours as we continue to grow in order to
maintain our service standard and business model which we
believe differentiates us from thousands of competitors.
Please explain the MEI edger used for wrap around sunglasses
and the technology behind it?
The MEI edger is a breakthrough in technology. These edgers
can produce about 45 pairs of glasses an hour of any type,
zyl or metal, rimless or drilled. It can also produce all
the specialty wrap frames such as Rudy Project, Oakley
Jacket and Flak Jacket, Liberty Sport, Nike Show and
Skyline, Carrera Xcede and all of the Wiley X frames. It can
do this because every edger has 12 different tools that it
uses to edge the lenses. These tools are controlled by
proprietary Cad Software that cuts the lenses in sequence to
achieve the complex shapes of these lenses.