Glasses are just glasses, right?

Similar to automobile tires, eyeglasses neither are made nor perform the same ways. Sure, you can put four round blobs of rubber on the rims of your car and go. But if it’s raining at night, do you really trust the cheapo “donut tires” or would you feel more comfortable having invested in a 50,000-mile, all-weather, super-tread tire for your family’s well-being?

Just like tires, there are hundreds of variables and thousands of options to choose from with respect to eyeglass lenses. So where do you begin?

There are two basic ways to fabricate prescription glasses: digitally surfacing or hand grinding. Most glasses are hand ground quickly, efficiently and economically. There is nothing wrong with this method of lens production, and more than 90 percent of all lenses are made this way. It allows the consumer to have glasses “in about an hour” and/or to have significantly reduced pricing because they are mass produced.

Digitally surfaced lenses, however, take much longer to produce since they are all customized to the individual patient’s needs, and the lenses are laser etched. Cost, of course, goes up with customized products, but for those that want the clearest and crispest vision, this is the only way to “see the world.” It’s simple math. With hand-shaved lenses you can only produce lenses with .25 accuracy. With digital lenses, you can achieve clarity and precision down to 0.01 accuracy.

Simply put, you can watch the same movie on VHS or in Hi-Definition on Blu-Ray. Same movie, but the experience is completely different. Do you prefer pictures taken with an iPhone 10x or an original 1.1-megapixel flip phone? We all understand how technology can make things clearer, but most aren’t aware that the technology exists in glasses. How do you want to see the world? Tell your optometrist.

Dr. Jeremy A. Ciano, an international lecturer and published author, is a Current Publishing columnist. For more information or to ask a question, he may be emailed at

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