Preparing a new prescription pair of glasses from the basic stock of blank lenses held by most optical laboratories is time-consuming and can be expensive for the customer. This is normally done by grinding and polishing a blank to fit the prescription. Lens pairs from typical optometrists can cost hundreds of dollars even when the patient’s prescription is simple, and more than that for patients whose eyes need more complex corrective devices. In the 3rd world, where these base stocks are not available, patients go without glasses, or use ill-fitting ones perhaps passed down by a relative or friend.
In collaboration with Opticast USA in a program supported by the Ohio Department of Development, Spectra scientists developed a series of energy curable optical plastic formulations and a device equipped with molds simulating nearly 90% of all required different visual corrections. With this method, liquid pre-polymer formulations are polymerized with light in the shaped mold. An optician can make a set of spectacle lenses in his/her own shop to meet the correction requirement of a patient and do so in a few minutes, even for bifocals and trifocals. In the 3rd world, one laboratory or optometrist’s organization can hold the basic set of molds, so that the only consumable is the optical lens liquid pre-polymer formulation – the Spectra Group/Opticast product.