Have you ever considered helping your patients to customise their own glasses?
A new Australian business is offering optometrists unprecedented opportunities to provide patients with eyewear that’s uniquely created to suit their facial structure and aesthetic tastes.
It’s taken almost two years for architect/engineer Josephine Roufaiel to research, develop, test, and refine the system, which comprises a user-friendly app via which optometrists can help patients design their own eyewear before the frame is created using a colour 3D printer.
Ms Roufaiel said it was her passion for 3D printing, along with an interest in health and fashion, that drove her to establish the business.
“Many people like the frame styles available in practices, but for a variety of reasons, they’re not suitable – perhaps because of the colour or the fit.
“Our app allows the patient to choose a frame from an expanding app collection of designs that are exclusive to venEyes. With a software application that scans thousands of anatomical points in seconds, it adapts that frame to fit the patient’s facial structure and prescription. The patient can choose the colour and patterning for the frame – either from a bank of options or by uploading their own patterns. For example, they may want to have an optical frame printed to match the pattern of their dress, or a soccer team might like to have sunglass frames printed in club colours for all the players. They can create the design then virtually try the completed frame on to ensure it’s what they want before placing the order.”
While 3D printed glasses have been around for a few years now in other countries, Ms Roufaiel says the industrial precision printer venEyes uses in Australia differs from other current 3D eyewear manufacturing.
“Most 3D printers will print in one colour and then a series of dyes are applied to get the result. Our printer prints in colour, and this is the difference that allows us to customise frames with complex patterns and colour combinations, as well as temple lettering engraving for easy identification.”
Made from Nylon PA12, which is safe for skin contact, once printed, the frames go through a vapour smoothing finishing process to achieve a smooth polished surface. venEyes partners with laboratories to fit the required lenses or supplies the frames to practices that wish to use their own lab partners.
Ms Roufaiel says the final frames are incredibly light to wear and strong, making them suitable for a variety of purposes. To build awareness and confidence in the concept, she is currently offering optometrists the opportunity to trial venEyes in practice, at no cost, and is providing a sample collection of colour palettes to show what is achievable.
“We do believe the venEyes app and frames will be a valuable addition that offers greater choice to patients who don’t fit regular frames or who simply want something that’s unique to them.
“For children who may be reluctant to wear glasses, or fussy about frame choice, this provides a great fun way to get them involved in the process.
“I also believe it will be invaluable for people with mobility issues and in nursing homes because by using the app, they can choose the frame style they want and have it scaled to their facial measurements, ready for the optometrist to place an order.”
With a mid-range price point, and delivery in seven to 10 days, Ms Roufaiel says she hopes optometrists will jump on board and take the opportunity to join venEyes and give it a try. “I want you to experience the difference,” she said.