LAB: Balester Optical
Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

Dale Parmenteri, vice president/partner

“Anxiety at the ECP level over how to dispense digital lenses is increasing their reliance on their lab. That’s why there’s more hand holding going on now. A lot of accounts are having a hard time understanding digital. We just produced an ad flyer (pictured top right) for our new private label Balester Advanced lens that explains some digital basics, like the difference between a compensated power and a conventional lens.

An ad flyer for the new private label Balester Advanced lens explains some digital basics.
“Private label is opening up our customers’ eyes, because they realize they can actually buy digital at an affordable price. We tell our accounts to start offering digital single vision to younger patients. Private label allows you to get digital single vision into a practice at an affordable cost.

“As far as customer service, digital is just like another job. We did have to change our order forms to add vertex, pantoscopic tilt and ERC (Eye Rotation Center), which tracks eye movements. All three measurements are required for Varilux Physio Enhanced Eyecode, which is a dual-sided digital progressive.

“Backside progressives like Autograph II, Varilux DRx and our Balester Advanced don’t require these extra measurements, and most ECPs don’t supply them. These lenses use default measurements which are based on averages.

“There is extra handling on the information systems side of our business, though. The lens companies keep releasing new styles, and we have to get the digital files. Often we’re getting a prescription in and don’t have the files.”

Customer Comment:

Don Manning
Owner, Design for Vision, a group of four independent
retail stores with in-house optometrists in Bucks County, Pa.


“Overall we’ve had great success with digital lenses. Fifteen percent of all the lenses we dispense are digital. My dispensers have an average of 15 years of experience, so we come well prepared. We educate the patients so they expect a lens that will help them see better.

“The Visioffice [dispensing system from Essilor] is fantastic. It takes a while to trust that, because we’ve seen that the measurements it takes vary from what we get with a pupillometer. We take the printout from Visioffice and parlay that to the lab.

“What is a bit confusing is if someone with a compensated Rx goes to an outside source for verification. It’s a little bit of a grey area. We try to explain the compensated Rx to the patient, but that can be difficult.”