PrinterWorks West Blog

3D printed ophthalmic lensesAdvances in the 3D printing world continue to amaze and the ability to print ophthalmic lenses is yet another solution provided by the additive manufacturing technique. Where traditional glass lenses are produced using subtractive manufacturing techniques, i.e. taking a lens blank and grinding/cutting away at it to create the final shape; 3D printing allows for customized printing of lenses without unnecessary waste being produced because there is no cutting/grinding process.

The world’s first 3D printer for ophthalmic lenses has arrived. Luxexcel is the only company in the world which can 3D print ophthalmic lenses. Back in 2009, they surprised the eyewear industry by printing the world’s first fully functional pair of glasses. Now, they have developed a turnkey solution for ophthalmic labs which allows for custom 3d printed optic products.

Teaming up with IFB Solutions which is the largest employer of blind or visually impaired people in America, Luxexcel unveiled the technology earlier this week at the IFB Solutions Winston-Salem, NC office:

By partnering with IFB Solutions, Luxexcel’s technology can be used to produce lenses at a greater speed than traditional legacy methods. Currently, IFB Solutions produces 1,200 pairs of specialty lenses per day for veterans. The 3d printing technology can print four lenses in an hour and more importantly, allows for unusual or complicated lenses to be produced more efficiently. 

Where traditional manufacturing technology is focused on large volumes of identical products, 3D printing allows individual products to be produced in volume and this has massive benefits for the eyewear industry.

Rather than stockpiling lens blanks in the ophthalmic lab that take up room and require manual handling to process a prescription, Luxexcel’s technology comes with a custom lens design software suite called the Luxexcel VisionMaster. This tool, allows optometrists and opticians to design custom lenses to be printed for their patients.

While IFB Solutions is the first to own this 3D printer of ophthalmic lenses, we are sure this technology will appeal to many in the optometry industry. Perhaps your next pair of glasses will have lenses that were made via a 3D printer.