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NEW MATERIALS TAKE SPECTACLE LENSES INTO THE FUTURE

 NEW MATERIALS TAKE SPECTACLE LENSES INTO THE FUTURE
 MONTREAL, June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers want more for their


money, and the latest eyeglass lens materials and coatings live up to that challenge with more options than ever, according to an optometric expert.
 "There are lots of new materials on the market, which enables patients to get lenses that are thinner, lighter and clearer," said Michael Cho, O.D., assistant professor and chief of ophthalmic materials services at the University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Optometry. Cho spoke on lens developments during the annual meeting of the 29,000 member American Optometric Association here.
 For example, high index aspheric lenses, which allow strong prescriptions to be compressed into thinner, lighter lenses, have been around for about six years for nearsighted people. They are now more readily available for farsighted people. "These lenses are not only 20 to 30 percent thinner and lighter, they minimize lens magnification so eyes don't look so big behind glasses. In other works, they eliminate that 'Coke bottle' look," Cho said.
 Other news: the plastic photochromic lens, which changes from light to dark, depending on available light, and back again. "They've been around for eight or nine years, but haven't been popular because they were difficult to obtain and the colors were not appealing," Cho said.
 "The new plastic photochromics darken to a medium grey and lighten rapidly to a very light tan or brown. They're 50 percent lighter than the glass version and retain less tint than glass lenses so there's no dark edge on the finished product," Cho said. Plastic photochromics also can be placed in rimless frames and though the plastic version does not turn as dark as the glass, most people go for solid sunglass tints in lighter browns or grays anyway, he added.
 The lens coating market is catching up to lens materials in new developments, Cho said. Anti-reflective coatings have been around for awhile as a single layer applied to the top of the lens. The newest anti-reflectives are multi-layered, which lessens glare while increasing the amount of light that reaches the eye from 92 to 99 percent. They're also more scratch-and smudge-resistant than their predecessors.
 The new materials are all options that make wearing glasses more comfortable and convenient, and patients should ask their optometrists what's appropriate for them, Cho said. "The specialized lenses and coatings are more expensive than standard glasses, but the benefits are worth it in appearance and comfort. People who wear glasses wear them more than anything else they own. For a little bit more money, its important to look better."
 -0- 6/22/92
 /CONTACT: Laurie Bergman of American Optometric Association, 314-991-4100/ CO: American Optometric Association ST: Missouri IN: MTC SU:


TQ-LR -- NYFNS5 -- 2195 06/22/92 07:32 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 22, 1992
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