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Digital Freeform

what are freeform lenses?

A freeform lens is a highly customized eyeglass lens that takes into account many variables including your frame shape and size, your prescription, the distance between your eyes and even how you prefer to wear the frame (POW – position of wear). Unlike standard (conventional) lenses which are only accurate to the nearest 0.25 diopter (D), a freeform lens is accurate down to 0.01 D. Another way to compare a freeform lens to a standard lens is with the example of buying a suit. You can purchase a suit off of the rack or you can get a suit tailored to fit you perfectly. Think of digital freeform lenses as lenses custom tailored to you. This may raise the question: my doctor only writes my prescription in 0.25D, how can the prescription be accurate to 0.01D? This is accomplished when the lenses are made, when the information from your doctor's prescription, frame, and POW are entered the software used compensates the prescription to give the prescription for you.

What makes a lens freeform?

Freeform lenses are commonly referred to as digital or high definition, but not all digital or high definition lenses are freeform. This is due to the technology behind freeform. There are three elements that are interconnected so each element supports the others. These three elements are lens design, equipment, and processing.

Lens Design: freeform lenses are designed using computer software, which gives the designer a higher level of flexibility compared to standard lenses.

Equipment: specialized high definition CNC (computer numerically controlled) generators which use a diamond cutting point to mill the lenses.

Processing: freeform lenses are surfaced using greater precision. As an example conventional surfacing creates a higher surface roughness (0.03 to 0.1mm) which then must be fined before polishing. A freeform surfacing creates a smoother surface roughness of about 0.3 microns (0.0003mm) which then can go straight to polishing which saves time.

If a lens is missing any one of these elements the lenses will not be as good as intended. A good example is if a standard lens is surfaced using freeform equipment the resulting lenses will not have the added accuracy as standard lenses are only accurate to 0.25D.

What are the benefits of a freeform lens?

The benefits of free form lenses include sharper vision by increasing contrast through the lenses. Not only is vision sharper, but it is sharper across the whole width of the lenses minimizing peripheral distortion. Many people have had progressive lenses or have known someone with progressive lenses that say they have a very small “sweet spot” in the intermediate and near portion of their lenses. Freeform lenses can widen this corridor to give a wider more natural vision area. Enhanced low light vision, this is accomplished by reducing the glare and halo effect on the lenses. Freeform lenses also increase color vision by making colors more bright and vibrant. Do you remember when you first saw the difference between an old box TV and the new high definition TV? This is similar to the vision through freeform lenses compared to conventional lenses.