Lab Advisor

October 2010

Made possible by an unrestricted grant from Transitions

Dollars and Sense

On-line Opportunities for Your Lab

Dollars and SenseEcommerce is, depending on how you look at it, either a growing opportunity for the optical industry or just another hurdle in the future. Many would argue that patients are best prescribed and fitted by ECP’s, but consumers are increasingly more comfortable making purchases on-line. On-line retailers have made significant gains in selling Rx eyewear over the web; shipped directly to the customer. Some traditional retailers have seized upon this opportunity and added web sales as a means of augmenting their traditional sales and providing an information resource for customers.

In its recently published 2009 Vision Council Internet Influence Report, The Vision Council found that use of the Internet for Rx eyeglasses shopping increased from 7.8 percent in 2007 to 14.2 percent in 2009. Of the respondents to the survey, 22 percent who purchased Rx eyewear and used the Internet in the process made the actual purchase on-line. On-line eyewear purchases will continue to grow and become a significant means by which the population fills their eyewear needs.

Lab owners, as well as domestic suppliers, may want to consider getting involved with their ECP customers to assist them in developing an on-line presence. Many of those who make a purchase on-line may not return to the traditional channel for future eyewear purchases. Labs can provide advanced service to their customers by hosting sites for ECPs where patients can schedule appointments and get information about the latest in eye care and product availability. Labs can be the back office and provide fulfillment services for on-line ordering and the virtual storefront where an ECPs patients can shop and purchase on-line. What domestic production lacks in cost savings may be made up with quality, timely delivery and extended service. This may further strengthen the relationship between the ECP and their patients, and ultimately strengthen the relationship between the ECP and your business.—Jason A. Meyer, Managing Director, HPC Puckett & Company.

Based in San Diego, Calif., HPC Puckett & Company specializes in mergers and acquisitions of wholesale optical laboratories. You can send comments or questions about this article or any other Dollars & Sense articles to Jason A. Meyer at [email protected].


Lab Notes


Labapalooza Celebrates VM's Top Labs, LabTalk's Website of the Year Awards

Website of the YearLabapalooza, Jobson’s annual celebration of optical labs, returned to Las Vegas during Vision Expo West featuring live music, cocktails, and a preview of Vision Monday’s 2010 Top Labs report, including the Top Labs ranking. LabTalk magazine also presented its Optical Laboratory Web Site of the Year Award and Trash to Treasure contest, in which lab personnel were invited to create artwork made from finishing pads. The awards were presented to a packed room of optical laboratory personnel, vendors and sponsors of Labapalooza.

Schneider Optical Machines was the Title sponsor for the event. Shamir Insight, X-Cel Optical, Transitions Optical, Gerber Coburn, Essilor, Santinelli International and Augen were Ultra sponsors.

The Precision Optical Group was the winner of the 11th annual Optical Laboratories Web Site of the Year Award. Katz & Klein, the second place website, received the most popular votes.

For the complete list of LabTalk’s Web Site of the Year honorees, visit LabTalk Online.

Look for a complete list of the Top Lab honorees in the Oct. 25 print feature Vision Monday’s 2010 Top Labs report, and on

Midland Optical Hosts Open House, Receives Honors

Midland Optical

Midland Optical, hosted an open house September 23, 2010, at its newly-expanded facility in St. Louis, Mo. Over 175 people, representing 55 independent eye care offices in the Missouri and Illinois area, attended the open house. The open house celebrated Midland Optical’s installation of the new $1.5 million digital optical lens processing equipment. A surprise visitor to the Midland Optical open house was city alderman Joe Vaccaro, (above left) who presented company president Matt Iovaldi, (above right) with a proclamation from Mayor Francis Slay and the city of St. Louis, officially declaring September 24, 2010, Midland Optical day in St. Louis.

Plastic Plus Opens Seiko-Approved Coating Lab

Plastic PlusWith the completion of a massive two-year rebuilding program, which included everything from equipment lines to the facility structure, Plastic Plus in Toronto, Ontario, has transformed into one of the most technically sophisticated and fully automated prescription labs in North America. The most recent phase of the Plastic Plus’ expansion was completed in July when the company opened its own state-of-the-art, AR coating facility. The independent, Canadian-owned company, which already holds the exclusive Canadian license for all Seiko Optical lens products, is the first, and currently the only “Seiko Optical-Approved” coating facility in North America.

Robertson Optical Provides Services at S.C. Health Fair

Robertson OpticalRepresentatives of Robertson Optical Laboratories of Columbia and Greenville, S.C. volunteered their services at the eyeglass fitting area of SC Mission 2010, a health fair held in early August which consisted of a host of organizations providing healthcare, dental and vision screenings to uninsured persons. More than 1200 people registered and over 800 patient charts were scanned. This was the first year that vision screenings and eyeglass fittings were provided, which were coordinated by the SC Optometric Physicians Association and Robertson Optical.

Pictured here, front left is Christie Truett of Greenville, S.C. trying on a pair of glasses as Larry Patton, sales manager of Robertson Optical of Columbia, advises. At back, on the right, sales rep Kimberly Griffin of Robertson Optical of Columbia, consults another participant. Plans are now underway for the same event to be held next year.

Focus On

Cherry OpticalGoing Digital: Cherry Optical

After immersing himself in digital lens processing the past several years, Adam Cherry, vice president of Cherry Optical, an independent wholesale lab in Green Bay, Wisc., has learned to admire both the precision and the power of the technology.

“Running this type of equipment in a digital lab is like owning an Italian sportscar,” he said, referring to the Schneider Optical Machines’ CB Bond blocker, HSC Smart A generator and CCP Swift polisher Cherry Optical purchased when it went digital two years ago. He emphasized that achieving high performance levels is only possible by rigorously maintaining and calibrating the equipment. “You better know what you’re getting into as far as taking care of it properly to keep it running well. That’s been a big lesson.”

Cherry Optical’s introduction to digital surfacing was actually its first experience with any type of surfacing. Consequently, the lab did not have any established manufacturing procedures in place.

Pictured here, at Cherry Optical in Green Bay, Wisconsin are, left to right, Kurt Atchison of Schneider Optical Machinery, Joe Cherry, Lynn Cherry and Adam Cherry. At right is the lab’s new Schneider HSC Smart A generator.

Click here here to read more about Cherry Optical and other labs that are “going digital” in Vision Monday’s Special Report: Digital Immersion.

LabTalk Spotlight   October 2010

LabTalk SpotlightWill You Sink or Swim with Automation and Robotics?
By Judith Lee

Not too far downstream, automation and robotics will comprise a technological life raft that will make all the difference between “sink or swim” for optical labs.

Already, labs that have invested in automation have seen a pay off in improved output and quality, streamlined workflow, and a more skilled workforce. Most importantly, these labs believe they have a significant edge on their less-automated competitors. The consensus is that automated and robotic equipment will become a “business essential” such as a telephone, computer and lab management system.

To find out more on how your peers feel about automation and robotics, log onto and go to the Features section where you will find this complete article.

Make What You Say, Pay!

Turn Presentations into Conversations

Make What you Say, Pay!

Buyers are on overload with PowerPoint presentations. Once novel, they are now largely too long, too wordy, boring and typically delivered as monologues. It is time to replace “Show and Tell” with “Engage and Involve.” Here are five ways to do that...

1. Avoid the word “presentation.” It turns listeners off (“Another presentation? Just what I need in my busy day!”). The word sends people into a passive mode. It also tends to separate you psychologically from your listener. Instead, use language like, “In our discussion today, we will look at...” “In our meeting today, we’ll be covering...” Your inclusive plural pronoun and characterization of the get together instantly set the expectation for interaction.

2. Ask questions. After each logical block of information, stop and get a reaction. “How does this sound?” “Is this what you were expecting?” “Thoughts? Reactions?” “How would you use this?” “This is how we see X. What’s been your experience?”

3. Invite them to choose. Services and ideas generally include various options. Rather than you, the speaker, describing these options in the order you wish, it is more meaningful and engaging to say to your listener, “Scan your eye down this list of options. Which one(s) do you want to know about first?” Your listener has to think, speak, and is suddenly, and naturally, in a dialogue with you.

4. Get them to imagine. As you are explaining the different features of your offering or idea, help them see themselves using your services or products. For example, say, “Imagine how this would affect your...” “Think how you would use the money you save on... elsewhere.” As you describe how you work with clients, casually ask, “Who on your team would be involved?” Make your listeners active participants in your presentation.

5. Remember, “Less is more.” Only show slides that truly illustrate a point and which lend themselves to discussion: graphs, charts, diagrams, images, examples. Keep the detailed explanations in an Appendix. It is easy to engage around a visual. It is virtually impossible to engage around text. Old Chinese proverb: “I tell you, you forget. I show you, you remember. I involve you, you understand.” The best presenters play at the “show and involve” levels, not at the “tell” level. The more your presentation becomes a conversation, the greater the odds for getting agreement. —Anne Miller

©2010, Anne Miller, author, “Metaphorically Selling”

New Products

Trinity Spacia High Definition Progressive Lens

Trinity Spacia High Definition Progressive Lens

Manufacturer: Augen Optics
Relaunch of Augen’s PAL for active presbyopes who rely primarily on expansive distance and mid-range vision.
Wide, spacious distance area, extra-wide intermediate corridor (9mm) and moderate near vision. Made with Augen High Definition Lens aspheric/double aspheric technology, which provides wide, clear, natural vision for wearers with both low and high cylinder prescriptions. Augen High Definition technology also features flatter base curves for all prescriptions, resulting in better cosmetics. Trinity Spacia lenses are scratch coated and compatible with all hydrophobic, anti-reflective and mirror coatings.
Availability: Trivex material in 3.50D and 5.00D bases and +1.00 to +3.00 add powers.
(866) 284-3611

Oakley True Digital

Oakley True Digital

Manufacturer: Oakley
High-wrap Rx sports lenses
Features: Dual Peripheral Technology minimizes distortion in the periphery. Digitally tailored for each specific frame and individual prescription, offering the level of visual clarity, acuity and fidelity that athletes and sports enthusiasts need to maximize their performance, according to Oakley. Central view offers wide fields of vision for crisp, clear detailed vision; low prism imbalance in mid-periphery for better large image recognition; low unwanted astigmatism in far periphery for better motion detection.
Single vision and progressive. Minimum fitting height for progressive is 15mm. Clear, sun non-polar, sun non-polar Iridium, polarized, polar Iridium, Transitions and Transitions Iridium.
(800) 278-1383

identity Swiss Design Free-Form Lenses

identity Swiss Design Free-Form Lenses

Manufacturer: Pro Fit Optix
General purpose progressive
Backside optimized progressive design offers optimal sight in all distances; 98 percent of participants in the user acceptance test adapted to the lenses very easily, even first time presbyopes.
Availability:Three corridor lengths and three lifestyle designs: Standard, Office, and Outdoor.
(866) 996-7849

SE-9090 Supra Industrial Lens Edger

SE-9090 Supra Industrial Lens Edger

Distributor: Santinelli International
Upgraded version of company’s SE-9090 industrial edger
The addition of newly-developed, pin-point accurate grooving technology, allows production of quality finished, grooved lenses with exclusive Crystal Cut high-luster polish quality and polish safety bevel. The unit incorporates an enhanced Central Processing Unit (CPU) for faster, high-volume lens processing. Its industrial-design elements promise greater durability and longer, unproblematic ownership, resulting in cost savings for labs. Self-calibration ensures optimum performance, deriving from the unit’s “built-in engineer.” The result is perfect bevel placement, exceptional accuracy and a “jewel-like” finish on every lens, every material, every shape for every frame, according to Santinelli.
(800) 644-EDGE (3343)

Send us news about your lab's new products, services, special events, tech advances or personnel changes.

Andy Karp

Andrew Karp
Editor, Lab Advisor
[email protected]


Christie Walker

Christie Walker
Editor, LabTalk
[email protected]

Visit for additional articles of interest about labs.