Among the activities and controls that are undertaken in optical laboratories, it is now essential to achieving added-value in money, resources, time and other factors, to recognize the damage that can be caused by using raw materials of low quality. In many cases, due to financial constraints, a supplier with very low prices is chosen, but for obvious reasons, the resulting quality is far from the best.

When optical laboratories only possessed older, conventional technology with outdated machinery, the accuracy and precision did not meet today’s much higher standards. With the arrival of sophisticated latest generation machinery such as Free Form generators, the costs of the wear of the cutting pieces and maintenance are figures that only a few owners/managers consider and transfer to the actual cost of the raw material. Low quality raw materials require decreasing generator velocity. However, this actually reflects higher costs in terms of maintenance, wear of equipment and labor. In these cases, cost-saving will not be realized …

Now, if we consider the final result, quality-wise, there is a danger of  sacrificing optical quality for improved profitability of  the optical laboratory. The homogeneity in the curves of the surfaces and in the scripts that have OPC codes (Optical Product Code Council, Inc.) minimize the possibility of human error (when entering data in the LMS – Laboratory Management System ), enable the generator to work with raw material in the most optimal manner and ensure that the personalization of each product is precisely what is delivered to the client and/or end-user.

Up until a few years ago, any of these variables were not a necessity. But that is not the case today. However, some optical laboratories continue to work with suppliers that do not take this into account and as a result, the lenses that are being delivered do not have the quality requirements demanded by the global market in the 2nd decade of the 21st century.

Protection against UV radiation is another issue that in many cases is not taken into account. In some cases, the monomers used to manufacture the lenses (spectacles), bases and/or the finished lenses, do not possess the same capacity to protect from the harmful spectrum of UV light.

There are lenses (bases and/or finished lenses) on the market, that do not have any type of protection whatsoever. These low cost lenses can be attractive for some optical laboratories, who are only focused on short term profitability. But it is impossible to guarantee an acceptable level of protection, unless good quality inputs are used. They may be more expensive but well worth it in the long term. It is important to know that not all lenses (spectacles) are equipped with the same characteristics.

Our research has taught us that in some optics stores there is no equipment capable of measuring the degree of protection on the lens, but ophthalmologists and opticians, do not usually take this into account in the process of accountability to their patients. With increased market know-how, processes will be unleashed that will create this necessary awareness and eventually, due to the market demand for higher standards, will force local and regional optical laboratories to embrace higher standards of quality control.

Based on statistics, we found it hard to find a professional client who would testify to choosing the risk of low quality over price, or that budget is the only parameter that affects their decision. But the bottom line is: the client always approaches an optical laboratory in order to SEE BETTER …