Student Digs by James Brooks from Saddleworth – My lens lab tour

Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting the lens lab where a lot of the magic happens! 

Did you know that here at Allegro Optical, every single lens is made using state of the art, cutting edge technology? I certainly didn’t realise how high tech this process was until I visited the lab and saw for myself. In my job, it really is essential that I have a strong understanding of how each type of lens is designed and produced. This is why I had no hesitation whatsoever when asked if I wanted to go and see the lab in person and have a thorough look around. Let me tell you, it was everything I wanted it to be and much, much more! 

Putting faces to names

We started off in the Customer Service centre and I was able to put a face to the voices I talk to on the phone every day. Then we went down to the main lab where the lenses are made. I was really taken aback by not only the sheer quality of the equipment, but the amount of it. It really is incredible the amount of work that goes into making our lenses. I found myself surrounded by millions of pounds worth of machinery. Each machine programmed to do a specific job to the absolute optimum. 

Surely a lens is just a bit of plastic?!

I was able to see for myself how creating such high quality lenses falls into two categories. Lens generation and lens production. Lens generation is carried out using software that calculates the complex curves required for the individual lens designs. Today’s complex lenses are designed not only to the prescription requirements, but also the individual viewing habits of the user.   We watched as the lens designer used computer software to create a pair of lenses especially for one of our clients. The design process takes into consideration not only the prescription, but the position-of-wear, frame shape and  fit, the clients facial features and lifestyle. Once the design stage was completed it was uploaded to drive the lens generator to manufacture the lenses.

A real learning curve

Lens surface curves are generated at thousands of points on the lens surface irrespective of the lens material surfaced. So accurate are today’s lens generators that they can produce a near finished quality lens surface. Although the surface of the lens is still polished prior to glazing. We were able to watch this part of the lens journey and I was amazed at the speed of this process. Once polished the lenses are cleaned then they are quality checked. This is a rigorous process which checks the lenses for numerous different things. From prescription accuracy right through to light transmission. Once the technicians in quality control are happy the lenses are sent for glazing.

Double glazing

Eventually I was prized away from the expensive toys. We headed back upstairs to where the finished lenses are cut to shape. I watched as the lenses were aligned and blocked, (mounted on a special holder) ready for cutting.  Once cut the lenses were fitted perfectly into our clients frame. But the process didn’t finish there. Again the lenses are cleaned and the final spectacles are quality checked numerous times before heading off to packaging and dispatch on their journey back to our practice.

Lens quality matters

Like everything else I knew that lenses are available in varying levels of quality. Just like iphones lenses differ in their offering. A basic mobile phone will allow the user to make and receive phone calls and send texts. But a new generation smart phone enables the user to make videos, control their central heating and home security to name but a few functions. Lenses are very similar, a basic stock lens allows clear vision through the centre of the lenses. They are relatively cheap but do present some peripheral distortion, particularly noticeable when overtaking or looking off centre. Today’s digital, freeform lenses provide clear high definition vision at all points of the lenses and in all directions. Many clients comment on the clarity and their new HD vision. At Allegro Optical absolute perfection is our aim. As I’m sure you can tell, from the second you walk through the door and during your eye examination. From selecting your new glasses through to the individual measurements taken and our excellent aftercare. This is why I am so very proud of our lab and all the staff working alongside us in store. We work as a team to give all our clients a high quality, bespoke pair of spectacles. Ones that will not only work great but look great too!

Experience award winning eyecare for yourself

To book your appointment with the quick and lively team at Allegro Optical call  Greenfield on 01457 353100 or Meltham 01484 907090 and experience award winning eye care for yourself.

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