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The Latest Edging Technology – What It Can Do For You

Compiled by the editors of 20/20 and Vision Monday


Everyone is thinking in recession-mode these days, trying to identify ways to deal with a sluggish economy and reluctant consumers. An edging practice is able to enhance customer service and reduce costs by finishing eyeglasses on-site, a big advantage is any economy.

The benefits of having an in-house lab grow exponentially with the newest equipment. Edging technology has moved light years ahead of where it was in the old millennium, with computerized automation and digital electronics transforming today’s machines to deliver higher levels of accuracy, versatility and ease of use.

Whether you are installing a new lab or thinking about upgrading existing equipment, it’s worth evaluating what the latest technology can bring to your practice.

1. Make Your Optical Dispensary More Competitive

Upgrading technology allows a business to re-invent itself, something every enterprise should do periodically to stay ahead of marketplace trends. In optical, the variety of lens materials and frame styles has expanded rapidly in the past decade. Older edging systems are labor intensive and slow to process products that didn’t even exist five years ago. Practices with older machines often send premium jobs out to be edged, sending their profits out the door as well.

Edge premium lens materials easily. The latest in-office edging systems have pre-set controls that edge polycarbonate, all high index materials, Trivex and fragile lenses with outstanding accuracy. There are also automatic settings for slippery hydrophobic materials including AR coated lenses to allow easy processing.

Center and block lenses automatically. Centering and blocking are steps that once required the skills of an optician to ensure accuracy. Today’s state-of-the-art machines center and block single vision and multi-focal lenses automatically, and some have built-in lensometers to read powers and identify progressive markings.

Groove and drill rimless and high base curves automatically. Technology tracks consumer trends, and the popularity of rimless and wraparound frames has resulted in machines that process these styles automatically with little need for operator intervention. Some systems integrate the drill into the edger, reducing not only the time and effort but also the counter space needed for these jobs. Look for angled drilling, grooving and safety beveling capabilities to handle high-base lenses.

Offer custom-shaped rimless frames. Offering custom rimless frames is a service that allows you to differentiate your practice from the competition. Today’s technology supports this feature with simple on-screen lens imaging controls that enable you to modify a rimless frame shape to accommodate a customer’s cosmetic or lifestyle needs.

Upgrading your in-house lab equipment with the latest process capabilities can energize your entire office as well. It provides a platform for renewed staff education, encouraging employees to brush up on their knowledge of the latest product features and benefits. The result is an optical practice that looks more progressive and acts more competitive.

2. Make Your Optical Dispensary More Responsive To Consumers

With up-to-date technology, your in-house lab can quickly and easily process the styles and materials that appeal to today’s product-savvy customers, including the latest thin and lightweight lens materials, photochromic and polarized lenses, wraparound frames and small-B frame styles.

Customers also appreciate the product quality and fast turnaround that the newest edging technology supports. These systems allow you to set the quality standards for your office, control the accuracy of each job produced and deliver a high quality product with the quick turnaround consumers want.

3. Make Your Practice More Productive and Profitable

Today’s new edging technologies integrate the steps required to finish lenses into one or two automated machines that are linked seamlessly by built-in software. Utilizing easy to follow computer controls, these systems can trace, center, block, edge, groove, drill, safety bevel and polish lenses at the push of a screen icon.

The latest equipment increases your lab’s output by:

  • Reducing total processing time to as little as four minutes per standard job;
  • Eliminating handling between steps with machines that perform multiple functions;
  • Reducing operator skill and virtually eliminating manual process errors.

In-house labs running the latest equipment cut processing time and re-dos significantly, with a net increase in overall office efficiency. Processing time is reduced so staff can multi-task, spending more time with customers to promote premium features or a second pair of eyeglasses. The net result is increased profitability.

An investment in new edging technology today can pay long-term dividends. Staying focused on customer service and having lab equipment that will deliver the products that satisfy patients are the keys to success in any economic environment. An investment in the latest edging technology can provide a sustainable competitive advantage for your dispensary well into the next decade of the 21st century.

—The editors of 20/20 and Vision Monday

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