Free-Form Lenses are Almost All That

Date: 07.20.15

We LOVE the new Free-Form lens designs. ADS uses this hi-tech surfacing technology for almost all our prescription lenses. Free form lens technology may be the most significant improvement in prescription eyewear since Ben Franklin, but we are noticing that some industry experts have been exaggerating the benefits of this technology. Exaggerating the benefits of this technology is a disservice to the public, as well as the technology. When manufacturers promote a product based on what people say they want they are setting themselves up for failure. This doesn’t work when politicians do it, and it’s not working for the eyewear industry. (Well, sometimes it works in politics, but definitely not eyewear.)

Benjamin Franklin

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
-Benjamin Franklin

One of these misstatements made by VSP, the largest provider of vision insurance, reported that, “Free-form lenses can reduce (the) halo effects caused by light sources at night, such as car headlights.” This statement is false, light bouncing back and forth inside the lens causes this halo effect. The effect happens with or without free-form lens surfacing. The way to prevent the halo or “starburst effect” is with an Anti Reflective coating. An AR Coating allows light to pass through the lens instead of reflecting off of it.

Another exaggeration is that, “Free-form lenses can reduce glare”. Free-form lenses make objects much sharper, especially in the peripheral portions of the lens, but glare is just scattered light. The only way to filter glare or scattered light is with a polarized lens. The filter in a polarized lens only allows the light to travel straight through the lens, blocking scattered light. Polarization is available in most lens materials and with most surfacing technologies.

When ADS sells free-form lenses we want people to expect the sharpest vision they have ever had in their life. If we sell someone a free-form lens and they are disappointed by halos at night or glare during the day we are going to have one unhappy customer. Part of our responsibility as an eyewear professional is to provide people with all the information they need to be an informed consumer. Free form lenses are an amazing technology that requires no exaggeration to sell.


Dave DuMais
Owner and optician of ADS Sports Eyewear