EyeCare Professional’s Paul DiGiovanni, LDO, speaking with
Bill Heffner, IV,
I.T. & Marketing Manager, FEA Industries.
Bill Heffner, IV
What’s new at FEA?
We've recently added a number of new freeform machines from
Schneider, including two generators, two polishers, and a
robotic laser engraver. We're investing heavily in
technology so we can be at the cutting edge of the optical
industry. This equipment makes it possible to keep our costs
down and increase our efficiency. We've also just introduced
a new way of surfacing traditional progressive lenses, which
we refer to as “personalized” progressives.
What is a personalized progressive
A personalized progressive lens is a melding of traditional
progressive lenses with the latest in lens surfacing
technology. We take traditional progressive lenses to the
next level and make them as good as they can possibly be.
With the traditional way of surfacing a progressive lens,
you would take your progressive lens blank of choice, like a
Younger Image, and surface it with one curve for the sphere
power and one curve for the cylinder power. This results in
one point of the lens being the optimal prescription, which
is the optical center. As the patient's eye moves away from
the optical center to the periphery of the lens, they start
to see more and more blur and distortion.
Personalization takes in to account the
movement of the eye, the vertex distance, pantoscopic tilt,
and the wrap angle of the frame to correct for this
distortion. It compensates for all of these variables to
ensure that the power that the patient actually sees is the
power that they're supposed to see. In essence, this makes a
traditional progressive lens into a compensated progressive
Isn't this just another way of saying
that your progressives are 'digitally surfaced'?
No. Digital surfacing is just a more precise way of
traditional surfacing methods. Just because a lens has been
“surfaced digitally” doesn't mean that it is a free-form
lens, or that it is a compensated lens. While a digitally
surfaced lens can boast an accuracy of up to 0.01 diopters,
it still suffers from having peripheral blur and distortion
because there's no compensation for the change in curves and
powers as the eye travels towards the edges of the lens.
I understand that this is a FEA
exclusive. Please explain the technology involved in
manufacturing this type of lens.
The difference in the technology that we're using now,
as compared to the traditional way lenses are surfaced, is
that our technology recognizes the way the human eye moves.
Traditional lenses are made so that they read the correct
power at the optical center, when read by a lensometer. The
human eye is certainly no lensometer, and will be looking
out of the lens at all manner of different angles. Our
calculation software takes into account all of these
different angles, and makes the lens power at each
individual point correct for that patients' prescription.
Does FEA also offer this
personalization for other lenses, such as bifocals (FT 28s)?
Is the same process used?
Yes. By the end of the year we will be offering
personalization on other multifocal lenses, which includes
bifocals and trifocals. These lenses have been virtually the
same for a long time, but now we're able to build a better
bifocal. As there's still a large number of people that
prefer to wear these lenses over progressives, we wanted to
be able to offer them the option to upgrade their sight.
This offers them better vision across the entire surface of
the lens, while still being the bifocal that they're used to
How is FEA able to deliver this type
Through our partnership with Indizen Optical
Technologies (IOT), we've been able to apply the concept of
free-form surfacing to traditional lenses. We've done some
custom programming on our end to integrate our system with
theirs so that we can bring their Digital Ray-Path
calculation technology to both traditional progressives and
How will FEA's personalizing of
conventional progressives reduce non-adapts?
The main advantage of this is that you're able to offer
your patient a better lens while keeping the same brand of
progressive that they're already wearing. Instead of trying
to sell your patient on the idea of a high-end free-form
progressive lens, you can still keep them in the VIP that
they've been comfortably wearing for fifteen years and offer
to make it even better. Personalization works very well in
wrap/sunglass/sport frames as well, as we're able to take
the angles of the lenses into account when we surface it to
ensure that the patient has the best vision they possibly
can, even at the edges of the lens. For patients new to
progressive lenses, the ECP is able to use the type of
progressive that they feel best suits the lifestyle of the
patient, and then make the optics of that lens even better.
Job tray being blocked and placed on a conveyor
belt to be surfaced by one of FEA's four Schneider
Explain the technology and new colors
for your Independence A/R coating.
We're partnering with Leybold Optics to produce the best
possible anti-reflective coating that we can. Over the past
two years we've invested close to two million dollars in our
in-house coating facility in order to create a superior
product. To ensure this, we put every Independence-coated
lens through one of our thermal dip hard-coating machines.
This is the basis for a superior anti-reflective coating, as
opposed to the UV-based backside spin coatings that most
other optical laboratories use. We're so confident in the
performance of Independence that we send out our samples
with steel wool, so you can see what we're talking about.
Since some people prefer one A/R color over another,
depending on lens color, frame choice, and personal
preference, we wanted to make sure that we could offer a
superior coating that could appeal to everyone. To this end,
we offer Independence in blue, green, and gold, all of which
come with a lifetime warranty.
Can you explain the promotion you will
be running on your personalized progressive lenses in
We don't want people to take our word that
personalization makes progressive lenses better; we want
people to try it themselves. We're going to be offering
personalization for free, through the end of October,
whenever anyone orders a traditional progressive lens from
us. That's it, no strings attached.