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By Laurie Pierce, ABOM

You can’t judge a book by its cover, but ECPs certainly judge a lab by its AR coatings! As eyecare professionals, we help the patient match their prescription to the best frames and lenses, and even marry visual lifestyles to specific lens designs. We are so fortunate to have many design options that cater to maximizing the visual efficacy for distance, intermediate, near, computer, driving, sports and more. The engineering behind these design options enables us to offer our patients the best of the best, personalized to their visual needs and wants. But how often do we talk about the varying details of the icing on the cake: anti-reflective coatings?

We have a wonderful opportunity to recommend a personalized AR coating technology that enhances the visual experience for all. The cool thing is that we have already had the conversation about how our patients use their eyes and know the amount of time they spend indoors, in front of digital devices, driving and more. Personalizing the AR coating to complement the lifestyle and task-specific lens designs is a natural continuation of the high-quality experience.

Light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum made up of particles and waves. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy, noted by a lower number in nanometers (nm). While the visible spectrum is loosely defined as an average of 400 to 700 nm, a typical human eye will respond to wavelengths from approximately 380 to 740 nm. When light interacts with a lens, it is absorbed or refracted or reflected. Depending on how we are using our eyes and the desired effect of the AR coating, optical scientists can concentrate on targeted reflectance to control specific wavelengths of light in various instances.

AR coatings apply destructive interference to cancel reflected light waves. The energy of the cancelled waves combines with the visible light transmissions traveling through the lens and to the eye. Better visible light transmission (VLT) equals better vision. Cancelling reflected waves from the front surface of the lens also eliminates cosmetically unattractive reflections while cancelling internal lens reflections to help us see better when driving at night by reducing glare, halos and ghosting around lights.

The variations in AR qualities are dependent on the substrate, the hard coat and stack layers for quality application to avoid crazing and scratching, with additional layers to enhance the cleanability and longevity of the final product.

Important qualities of the thin film/layers to discuss with the patient in addition to scratch resistance and longevity are:

  • Oleophobic top layer is applied for smudge resistance, especially fingerprints, enhanc- ing clarity and making the lenses very easy to clean
  • Hydrophobic top layer is applied for ease of cleaning, where after cleaning and rins- ing, the water practically whisks off by itself.
  • Anti-static layer controls dust in a way that it cannot form into a cluster on the lens sur face. We can think of this as the opposite of what a pool filter system does (collecting particles together to move through the fil- ter). Conversely, the particles cannot form together, eliminating them from clumping together and reducing the quality of vision while looking through the lens.

IOT’s optical scientists have been working hard and are happy to offer high-quality AR options for patients that include the parameters mentioned above while incorporating targeted reflectance attenuation based on the way patients use their eyes. IOT scientists put AR coatings to the real test for laboratory partners to help ensure their coating quality.

Targeted reflectance coatings address those who want to:

  • Showcase their eyes in person or on screen with complete clarity and no distracting color reflections or glare.
  • Work and relax in comfort with a lens coat- ing designed to reduce blue light emitted by digital device screens.
  • Feel safer and more confident when driving, especially at night when lighting and weather conditions can make it particularly challenging.
  • Tackle their world with lenses made to match the most demanding lifestyles.

ECPs and most importantly our patients judge the entire product and our services based on the attributes of the AR coatings applied. Let’s raise the bar by offering premium AR solutions that target wavelengths of light to enhance the lens design chosen for specific visual wants and needs.

All stories in the IOT Free-Form Insights Series