Luxexcel has arranged to donate seventeen pairs of eyeglasses with 3D printed lenses.
The Netherlands-based company is perhaps the only company worldwide capable of 3D printing functionally usable ophthalmic lenses. They use a resin-based 3D printing process to create lenses in an acrylate monomer material. Apparently their inkjet/UV system is so accurate, the lenses do not require any post-processing: they are ready to be used right out of the printer!
There are some very interesting advantages to 3D printing lenses, and the most notable would be the ability to quickly create highly complex lenses to address unusual optical needs.
Most people are familiar with the concept of bifocals, where a lens has two zones with different optical properties. Now imagine a far more complex optical scenario, in which multiple irregular zones with different characteristics are required for a particular patient.
In traditional lens making, this could be terribly expensive and lengthy to produce. However, with a 3D printing solution the answer is simply to design and print, just like any other 3D printed lens.
They achieve this through their purpose-built software system, VisionMaster, which provides all the tools required to design virtually any kind of complex lens. Luxexcel provides this software to clients so they can design their own configurations for production.
The system, hardware and software, is not intended to provide printing capabilities for anything other than lenses. It’s available for purchase by clients for installation on site.
Now we find out that Luxexcel has partnered with IFB Solutions, an organization dedicated to providing solutions to visually impaired people in the USA.
The two combine to provide seventeen custom-made 3D printed eyeglasses to children in Winston-Salem, NC. Signlink explains:
“For several of the children, this will be their first pair of glasses and something both IFB and Luxexcel hope will help them in the classroom. Prior to receiving their glasses, the children were seen at IFB’s optical centre to determine have their vision assessed and to choose their frame of choice.”
This is a wonderful public service provided by Luxexcel, as their partnership has allowed these children to literally see properly.
I am hoping other 3D printer manufacturers take note of Luxexcel’s venture here and begin thinking about developing a corresponding program for their equipment.