Watch this video from the workshop of Xavier Derome, French eyewear designer. It located near Château Chambord at Loire Valley.
Category Archives: Technology
Contact Lenses That Adjust to Light
Introducing: Acuvue Oasys® with Transitions™
Acuvue’s new line of light-sensitive, vision-correcting contact lenses (developed in partnership with Transitions Optical), which has been in the works for over a decade, is available now. Contact lens contains a filter that senses the amount of light entering your eye and automatically darkens or lightens to maximize comfort. These lenses are one of TIME’s Best Inventions of 2018 list.
ACUVUE® OASYS with Transitions™ quickly and seamlessly adapts to balance the amount of indoor and outdoor light entering the eye, including filtering blue light and blocking harmful UV rays. They begin to darken as soon as they’re exposed to UV or HEV light, with Transitions Light Intelligent Technology enabling the lenses to become dark in 45 seconds – and fade back from dark to clear within 90 seconds when going from outdoors to indoors. At full activation, the lenses block up to 70 percent of visible light.
Long known for our sensational eyeglasses selection, Providence Optical is becoming a destination for contact lens patients too. Our contact lens director Dr. Robert Hill studied with Dr. Marjorie Rah in New England College of Optometry and for 2 years closely worked with Dr. Dennis Karambelas at Vision Care Barrington.
If you were fitted with Acuvue Oasys at your doctor’s offices and wear them currently, stop by at Providence Optical to get free sample in your prescription.
Nano-Plating treatment by Blackfin
Blackfin introduced its new optical styles that “takes titanium to the next level.”
This collection include 10 best selling models that are now available in innovative new finishes – Blackfin Nano-Plating treatment which is an exclusive process patented by the company. The shiny new finishes include pale amber, ancient rose gold, obsidian black , gold and imperial yellow. “Blackfin Nano-Plating is a treatment in which metal particles are vaporized in a vacuum, inducing sublimation that enables the particles to be deposited atom-by-atom onto the surface of the frames to obtain a final chromatic effect. Blackfin Nano-Plating makes it possible to create a frame of exceptional beauty with amazing coloration that is long lasting and resistant to wear and tear. Blackfin Black Edition: the unmistakable Blackfin style with an extra touch of exclusivity,” the company said.
As you know, Blackfin (Italy) works only in titanium. The fronts of eyewear made of pure titanium (which is 90% titanium, 6% aluminum and 4% vanadium) and the temples of beta-titanium (which is alloy of many elements)for flexibility.
Freeform Lenses: The Difference Is Clear
The difference between a freeform (also called digital) and a standard lens is essentially the same as the difference between off-the-rack and tailored clothing. Both start with a product made for the “average person”. But there is no such thing as an average person. So, the item must be adjusted to fit precisely. For an important occasion, like a wedding, we have our clothing adjusted for the optimal fit. This is exactly what freeform lenses do for your eyes. The big difference is that you may wear that fancy tailored outfit only once, while you’ll wear your glasses every day.
Lens Distance — It Varies
If you think about your eye moving behind the lens of your eyeglasses, you’ll realize that the lens is farthest from your eye along the edges and is closest in the middle, where the lens is directly in front of your eye. That variation in distance is unique to each person, depending on the size of your eyes, the shape of your face and how the frame sits on you. The tilt of the frame and its shape also alter the distance between your eye and the lens at different points. A generic lens blank cannot accommodate these variations. This means that you are likely to experience distortion as your eye moves within the frame unless the lens is customized to account for these unique variables.
Progressive lenses present an additional challenge because the lens also has to change in power from the top portion (where you look straight ahead for distance) to the bottom edge of the lens, where the power is higher for your reading prescription. For the most comfortable and sharp vision correction, you need a smooth transition with the cleanest curves and the least amount of peripheral distortion.
Customizing Options — Not All Are Equal
There are a variety of ways to achieve a tailored lens fit. Some, of course, are better than others. They all created of chunky lens blank, but on different equipment. Here’s a quick look:
- Conventional/Traditional (K, J Options for VSP Customers): After your optician tries the frame on you and takes the measurements, the customized changes are ground onto the front of the lens and the lens is then polished. This is the least expensive option, but it has significant shortcomings. The grinding and polishing processes cause friction, which heats up the lens, causing it to warp slightly and creating distortion. This process is the least accurate, so it creates the greatest area of “swim” in your peripheral vision, which causes some people to experience dizziness. In addition, placing the customized adjustment on the front of the lens puts the correction farther away from your eye, so your eyes have to work harder to bring the world into focus.
- Digital (F option for VSP): This process utilizes a Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machine tool – the same high tech instrument used for creating precision parts for the aviation industry. Your unique measurements are fed into the the computer that controls the machine tool, so the adjustments are very precise, creating a smooth, comfortable curve. The adjustments are made to both the front and back of the lens and there is no vibration, which can lead to distortion. Because the process is so precise, very little polishing is needed. The lenses stay at room temperature and do not warp. We recommend this option for progressives and for single vision lenses with high prescription or high astigmatism.
- Total Customization (O, N Options for VSP): This option, which only costs an additional $10 for VSP customers, involves additional measurements, including the tilt of the frame you have selected, how it wraps around your face and the distance from your eye (cornea) to the back of the lens. The goal is to create multiple optical centers so they can “follow” your eye movements. (Think honeycomb pattern). It will give you stability switching between different frames and comfort of reading (by eliminating an image displacement). This option gives you very precise, accurate visual correction, even in your periphery.
Titanium: The Super Metal
Titanium is named for the Titans – the race of giant gods that preceded the famous Greek gods of Mount Olympus –a name reflecting this metal’s super-hero strength. Ready to be impressed? Titanium’s melting point is 3020 degrees Fahrenheit and its boiling point is 5949 degrees Fahrenheit. Whoa! That’s one strong metal!
Because of this strength, its resistance to corrosion and because it is inert – meaning it doesn’t react with other substances – titanium is used for everything from spacecraft and missile parts to hip joints and dental implants. You can see why it’s an awesome material for eyeglass frames.
Staying in Shape
Titanium is way stronger than steel, but it’s almost half as light. This means that, unlike other metal frames, titanium frames don’t get bent out of shape (pun intended). They stay comfortable and you don’t have to keep running to the optical office for adjustments (though we are always happy to see you!). Honestly, you can even fall asleep and roll over on top of them and they probably won’t need adjusting. That’s pretty impressive!
Avoiding the Yuck Factor
Metal frames made of other materials are subject to corrosion. Friction as the temples move with your face, combined with perspiration, can provoke a reaction with the copper or nickel in a metal alloy frame, causing a green salt to leach out. This can literally leave a green line on either side of your face. Ewww!
Titanium frames, however, do not corrode, so you never have to worry about looking like you have a tattoo gone bad on your face.
Also, titanium is hypoallergenic and contains no nickel, so you don’t have to worry about allergies or irritation.
Fashion and Function
Modern techniques have brought a new range of beautiful colors to the world of titanium frames. The superior strength of this metal also means that it can be formed into shapes with crisp, clean edges and sleek lines. We think you’ll love the lightweight feel and superior design. They cost a little more than metal alloys, but the comfort and durability are well worth it.
BLACKFIN titanium booth took first prize at optical trade fair in Milan, Italy in 2015.
Redefining “Made in America”
Since everyone is welcome to visit State Optical’s facilities to see eyewear manufacturing, we decided to visit the factory, located in suburb of Chicago, in July 2016. It was an incredible experience. We love the building’s picturesque location and its modern interior design, which includes an upcoming interior basketball court.
Skilled workers,or craftsmen wear t-shirts with the logo IEM—Independent Eyewear Manufacturing. Craftsmen in training, however, don’t have the right to wear the shirt. They have to earn it. Jason and Marc do the training and it takes about six months for a typical craftsman to come up to full speed. Why? Because over 50% of State’s acetate frame production is done by hand and it takes an average of 70 different steps to make a basic acetate frame.
IEM uses a total of 60 pieces of equipment and 42 of them are brand new. Of all of these, the team is the most proud of the state-of-the-art factory Computer Numerically Controlled, or CNC machine, which cuts the front of the frames. It is one of the most high tech eyewear manufacturing pieces of equipment in the world. Only two such machines exist and both are at IEM facilities. One of them has been named “MASON” after Marc and Jason. It is a phenomenal piece of equipment.
Watch the video, there Scott shares the dream about making things in America:
Read full story on State Optical in our May 2016 blog.
C-Zone collection close up: wood lamination on metal
Wood-on-steel frames, first introduced by Lucas de Staël, made their debut in the world of luxury eyewear some time ago, but more recently – two-and-a-half years ago to be exact – Dutch company C-ZONE decided to make the same look available to those with a more modest budget.
The new line was such a hit that C-Zone has since expanded its range of eyeglass models with wood lamination inlays. In fact, the company is set to release a new model with a curved wooden lamination at the Vision Expo West in September.
Given the success of these mid-priced eyeglass frames ($227 at Providence Optical), we decided to publish an interview with C-Zone owner and designer Rob Maas to tell us about the concept behind this popular trend.
Why wood-on-metal frames?
“C-ZONE is a collection of metal frames. We use it as our base material, but we always combined it with other materials like acetate and silicone. A few years ago, we saw that there was a growing interest in glasses made out of wood.
But we also heard about 2 negative aspects of wooden frames. First of all, they are rather expensive. Not everybody can afford it. But also, it was not possible to adjust a wooden frame to a face.
We came with a concept that is more affordable and still has that feel of a wooden frame: wood lamination inlay on a metal frame. From its introduction, it’s been hugely popular.”
But what is wood lamination exactly?
“I guess that everybody’s familiar with wood lamination as a material on the floor in one’s home. This is sort of the same. It is chopped off wood, pressed and plasticized. The wood has become a plastic sheet of dead wood so to speak. This also enables the optician to bend the metal/wood combination to adjust it to the face of a patient. And people do not have to worry; you can put the frames in the ultra-sonic cleaners.
We work with three types of wood: oak (brown sheet), birch (grey sheet) and mahogany (reddish sheet).
Metal and wood…doesn’t that make a frame rather heavy?
“Not in our case. For the metal part, we use a bit of thinner stainless steel than we normally use. Normally, this thickness is too weak to be a regular pair of glasses, but in combination with the wood lamination, the frame become strong enough. But in fact, it is so light-weight the material is often mistaken for titanium.”
So, the concept is still popular after 2.5 years?
“Absolutely. But we do develop. Like for model G2190 we came up with 2 types of wood lamination in one frame. And at Vision Expo West, we will come up with frame H2202. For the first time, we are now able to curve the wood lamination on the front end. This gives a total different look.”
The C-ZONE collection is famous for its colors, but in that sense wood is not very C-ZONE like, is it?
“But we still have the metal part to spice up the frame. We combine the wood with contrasting colours like a lipstick red, a midnight blue or a shiny silver. Exactly, these became the bestsellers. But for the more traditional customers, we also offer them in a chocolate brown and stylish black. You can’t go wrong with this one. That’s why I still enjoy wearing my G2190 in color 10.”
If you think wood-on-metal is genius, how about denim-on-steel? C-Zone has a whole separate line of eyewear based on this concept. Both collections are ready for you to explore here at Providence Optical.
Highway Overpass Meets Contemporary Necklace: A New Line of Eyewear Is Born
Contemporary Jewelry: Sleek, modern, textured, bold, eye-catching, innovative, whimsical.
Road Architecture: Strong, functional, textured, utilitarian, monochromatic, plain, sometimes ugly.
What do the two have in common? Look closely. It’s all about texture. And Jacqueline Lung found an incredibly innovative way to bring these two media together.
It all started in Lung’s freshman year at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design), when she fell in love with metalworking, particularly fine details, which add texture to smooth metallic surfaces. Lung initially worked on jewelry and tableware designs. And then something strange and wonderful happened: She discovered eyewear as the nexus of jewelry and function – an accessory that serves a necessity and also conveys the personality of the wearer. Lung explains:
I believe that … eyewear acts as a symbol of a persona … The relationship between eyewear and its wearer is symbiotic. On one hand the wearer desires the personality of the materials embodied in the eyewear, and on the other hand, the personality of the materials calls for activation by the wearer.
For her RISD Degree Project, Lung took a bold step. She decided to incorporate boring industrial materials — such as steel, concrete and even duct tape — into her eyewear designs to elevate their status and challenge eyeglass wearers to think about these materials in a new way. In her handmade line of eyewear, Industrial Spectacles, Lung brings out the hidden beauty in these materials. Says Lung:
“Shiny, ugly duct tape transforms into a soft, velvety, grey textile. Concrete presents itself as delicate graphic elements, rather than as massive spacious structures in which we reside. Parts of screws that are normally hidden below the surface are displayed, remaining functional while destabilizing the expectation of how they could be used. The hidden character of these materials are given agency as they rise to the surface and become accessible in the format of eyewear.”
Each frame in Lung’s new collection bears a name that reflects its featured material.
– Archytas: named after Archytas of Tarentum, an ancient Greek mathematician who is often credited as the inventor of screws
– Steinar: a Scandinavian name that combines “stone” and “warrior, referencing concrete and its origins
– Ludwig: named after Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, paying homage to his extensive use of I beams in architecture as both structural and decorative elements
– Akira: named after Akira Yoshizawa, a Japanese origami master, reflecting the foldable structure created by steel and duct tape in this piece
– Gunta: named after Gunta Stölzl, who was a Bauhaus weaving master, in reference to the duct tape weave structure.
Lung’s Archytas spectacles with mirror sun lenses are available at RISD Works store and at www.jacquelinelung.com
Dare to see yourself – and these materials – differently!
Eyeglasses Frames and Hollywood: Guess What They Have in Common
If you’re a fan of retro eyewear, or if you’re old enough to remember when it was the “new thing,” you know that early plastic eyeglass frames were thick and pretty heavy for the poor nose that had to hold them up. New colors for plastic eyewear emerged in the mid-20th Century, giving birth to the idea that eyewear is a fashion statement rather than a medical necessity. A variety of shapes also emerged in this era, but they were all pretty thick. We’ve come a long way since then to the modern, ultra light plastics that feature flexibility and über thin lines in a wild array of colors. Let’s take a look back to see how we got to where we are today.
A Volatile Beginning
The first composition plastic used for eyeglass frames was celluloid – yup, the same stuff used by Hollywood filmmakers – which was invented way back in 1869. Technically, it was called cellulose nitrate, or nitrocellulose. The word “nitro” isn’t just a coincidence. This stuff was highly flammable. The story goes that German-Swiss chemist Christian Friedrich Schönbein (1799-1868 ) used the family kitchen to conduct experiments with a mixture of nitric and sulfuric acids. Even great chemists have “oops” moments, so when Schönbein spilled some of the mixture, he used his wife’s apron to wipe it up. The aprons of the day were made of 100 percent cotton, so Schönbein unknowingly mixed cellulose fibers from the apron into his nitrate compound. He hung the soiled apron up to dry above the stove and then he had a second “oops” moment when the apron exploded.
Despite its flammable nature, cellulose nitrate – nicknamed “zyl” by the optical industry – was used for eyeglass frames from the late 19th Century all the way through the mid-20th Century. We finally wised up and found other, less volatile, plastics for eyeglass frames, but cellulose nitrate is still used today in the manufacture of smokeless gunpowder, printing ink, wood varnish, foil and film lacquers, automotive paint, fingernail polish, leather finishes, adhesives and coatings to protect silver and other tarnishable metals. And now you understand why you shouldn’t smoke, light a candle or crank up your space heater in the presence of any of these products.
The Next Generation
Celluloid nitrate’s cousin and successor is a compound known as cellulose acetate, or “acetate” for short. This more stable compound comes cellulose, usually derived from wood pulp (birch, eucalyptus) or cotton, treated with acetic anhydride (basically, vinegar minus the water molecules) to make the fibers soft and pliable. In this form, it is used to manufacture cloth. For eyeglasses, cellulose acetate is bound with plasticizer, such as diethyl phthalate, to give it the strength and rigid structure needed to mold frames. While the CDC has issued health warnings about direct exposure to diethyl phthalate, it is so strongly bound into the acetate that it cannot leach out at temperatures below 122 degrees.
Cool New Eyewear Materials – Thinner, Lighter, More Color Options
The latest eyewear plastics are nylon-based, which makes them stronger and more flexible than cellulose acetate. Because nylon molecules have a strong bond, eyeglass manufactures can use less of it, which means thinner, sleeker and lighter eyewear – up to 72% less weight than cellulose acetate. Nylon also accepts dyes very easily, which means a wider range of colors, including translucent shades that look like frosted glass. The only down side is that they are vulnerable to shrinking when exposed to heat, so don’t leave those designer sunglasses on the dash of your car!
If you really want a pair of glasses that you can abuse, look for frame made of Ultem ® (PolyEtherimide) resin. It’s resistant to heat, UV rays and chemical exposure. Because of these properties, it’s widely used in the medical and chemical industries. Like nylon compounds, it is light-weight and can be molded super thin. You can get temple pieces as narrow as 1.2 mm for that “barely there” look. And, your eyeglass frame could be 50% lighter than a comparable one in metal.
See award winning glasses from RISD student at Providence Optical!
Rhode Island School of Design’ student from Virginia, Daniel Morgan, won the third place with his concept MAGO: an innovative magnetic hinge, anchored in both the front and in the temples, making the glasses almost unbreakable. Morgan designed MAGO for all those active people, looking for a stylish pair of glasses.
With the magnetic connection, the temples can be removed from the front just as easily as they can be connected to each other again. What was convincing from a technical point of view was not only that the strength of the magnets was exactly balanced, but also that Morgan used the rapid prototyping method beforehand. The result: a bright red, fully functional pair of glasses that the jury could hardly keep their hands off. The front and the temples are 3D printed.
Organized by OWP Brillen, a German eyewear manufacturer, the aim of the International Eyewear Design Contest 2015 is to reward creative and innovative product ideas in the field of prescription eyewear. he contest proved extremely popular, with 146 young designers from 26 countries – including Iran, Mexico, Thailand, Israel and Australia – submitting their creative ideas for eyewear. Based on the theme ‘urban street style’, young product designers are welcome to think differently and to challenge themselves. A jury of designers selected three winning concepts based on the choice of materials, wearability, manufacturability and functionality.