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Digitally Surfaced High Index Lenses

“Digital Surfacing” in one of many terms currently in use to describe the process of high index and standard material lenses.

Digitally Surfaced High Index Lenses

Digitally Surfaced High Index LensesIt refers to the manufacturing process and is also known as digital processing, digitally cut, form-free, direct to surface, or digitally enhanced.

Digitally surfaced lenses are created by state-of-the-art machinery that is more precise than the traditional “form” method, thereby allowing greater flexibility in terms of producing custom lenses. With a digitally surfaced high index lens, both the front and the back can be ground down to reach a high level of precision in prescription detail. This is extremely helpful in fashioning complex prescriptions.

Several factors go into the creation of a prescription, and all of them have to be accurate to the minutest detail. Prescription measurements include:

  • O.D. (right eye) and O.S. (left eye) scripts.
  • The Spherical category, which contains the diopter measurement for nearsightedness or farsightedness.
  • The Cylindrical category, which contains the diopter measurement for astigmatism.
  • The Axis category, which describes the position of the astigmatism within the horizontal axis of the eye.
  • The Add category, which contains the diopter measurement for the lower portion of a bifocal lens, if necessary.

The traditional form method creates a lens by first utilizing a blank that is formed using a glass mold. An optical lab technician will then use a machine called a generator to carve a particular prescription into the back of the blank lens. Once this is done, polishing and finishing machines finalize the lens.

Digitally-surfaced lenses, however, begin with a computer program, into which the technician inputs a wearer’s exact prescription and various size requirement details. The computer then sends this information to a digital form-free generator, which custom-cuts the prescription. A digitally surfaced lens is not limited to one side, as is the form method; digitally-surfaced lenses can be cut on both sides of the lens for greater accuracy.

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When coupled with thinner and more lightweight high index glass or plastic, the digitally surfaced method is capable of producing a lens of any cut or curve. Digital surfacing does not necessarily create a better lens, just a more accurate one. If a prescription is slightly off, the lenses created from that prescription will likewise be off, regardless of the process used to make them. Digital surfacing is simply a lens-producing process…albeit a modern, more efficient one.

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