Benefits of Digital Lens Technology

Dr. Russel Lazarus, September 5, 2021

Digital lens technology provides custom lenses for a clearer, more natural visual experience.

Glasses have been used to help scribes and copyists see better since the middle ages, but the technology used to make good-quality lenses now is a long way from the rudimentary lens grinding processes employed back then.

Digital lenses

When looking to get new glasses, such as progressive or single-vision lenses, the terms like ‘digital free-form’, ‘direct-to-surface’, or ‘high-definition’ may come up.

Lenses can now be digitally processed, digitally designed, digitally enhanced, or digitally made, or even all of the above.

But what exactly do all of these things imply?

Many of these names appear to be interchangeable, so what really is going on in the optical lens manufacturing field?

Making of lenses

Up until the late 1980s, optical lenses were created by molding a ‘blank’ lens into a curved form that would serve as the front surface.

The back surface was then ground with a lathe to get the desired curve, which was then combined with the front to form the prescription power required. The lens would next be polished and refined before being cut to shape and size and installed in the frame.

Because the lenses were limited to the curves available in the molds and surfacing equipment, which were made to manufacture its specific lens design only, there was no ability to tailor any single lens design.

Optical lens manufacturing now allows eye doctors to customize the design to best meet the needs of the patient.

Schedule an eye exam with an eye doctor near you to discuss the benefits of digital lenses to suit your lifestyle.

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How are digital lenses made?

The prescription

Specialized technology scans your eyes digitally, collecting a lot of data points on each eye.

This information assists the equipment’s algorithms in determining a prescription that accounts for both your refractive error and the particular variances in the shape and surface of your eyes.

The resulting prescription gives you the best vision balance, including better night vision.

Optimizing the lens

After you’ve decided on a frame, you’ll need to take some new measures, such as how close the frame sits to the front of your eye, how you tilt your head and how it wraps around your face.

These precise measurements ensure that your prescription will be as clear as it should be when you put on your new high-tech glasses.


Your order will be sent to a lab which uses a computer-controlled, free-form generator to construct the lenses.

Your new, high-tech prescription written to 1/100th of a diopter can be read and responded to by the generator. The lenses are designed to account for differences in your eyes throughout the surface of the lens.

This may not only improve your vision, but it may also improve your vision across a larger portion of your lens.

What is free-form technology?

Free-form technology is a cutting-edge digital manufacturing technique that employs computer-aided design and surfacing to produce high-quality, personalized eyeglass lenses with your specific prescription.

Consider it a personal shopper for your eyes. You may now have lenses created specifically for your precise prescription and frames, just like you can have an off-the-rack pair of jeans adjusted to meet your specific specifications.

Free form lenses offer higher-definition vision

Many vision industry executives believe that free-form technology will be the next big thing in vision correction. You can expect the following benefits in addition to the improved visual clarity that customized free-form lenses provide:

  • Exceptional contrast perception: Free-form lenses can sharpen your vision.
  • Exceptional color vision: Free-form lenses can help you get the most out of your lenses’ optics, resulting in more intense, brighter colors.
  • Exceptional low/night vision: At night, light sources such as car headlights can generate glare and halo effects, which can be reduced with free-form lenses.

While anyone can benefit from digital lenses, those with complicated prescriptions and progressive lenses will see the greatest improvements in their vision.

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Contact an eye doctor near you to find out more about the benefits of digital lenses.

Lenses can now be customized to provide you with even clearer and more natural vision. People with high prescriptions will quickly see the benefits of wearing the new generation of lenses.