When the Numbers Fit [Barry Santini]

The selection, sizing and fitting of eyewear has been a foundation of the opticians skill set for over 100 years. From bridge size to temple placement to suitability for the Rx at hand,  dispensers pride themselves on being able to skillfully assist their "patients." They have been an important and essential advisor in the eyewear selection process.

But the internet is going to change all that. I'm sure that each of you has had different frames over the years that became your "go to" styles when you wanted to show off a frame that really fits well. In my early years, that style was the Optyl 1017. It fit just about every bridge well, despite having a fixed 15mm DBL. Why?

It's unique bridge and pad contour.

Overtime, I came to begin to quickly assess how well a frame would fit by simply trying it on myself. If I couldn't make it feel balanced in a few quick twists of the temples, I'd put it back in the rep's tray, saying "no good." I still do this today.

Drives. Them. Nuts.

Reps respond: "How can you say that if a frame doesn't fit 'you', it won't fit others well?"

It just does.

Today, most of us have worked with Oakley sunglasses. Their occipital temples fit most people quite well without any adjustment, thankyouverymuch. And the material they're made from, nylon, requires very little attention for refitting. They fit well, in large part, because the occipital design obviates the need to customize and assess temple length. And they have a rubber type material, "unobtanium," that contributes greatly to their slip resistance.

Now, imagine for a moment, that the large frame manufacturers start assessing the data on bridges, aggregating numbers on wearer satisfaction and bridge and pad contour information in order to design a bridge that will fit 85% of the populace quite well - right out of the box. And now they mate this 'ur' bridge design to nylon frames and occipital fit. And further, using digital lens technology and FF generated lens lenticularization, almost any correction below -8D will be easily fabric-able by any advanced FF lab.

Q: Will the eyeglass wearing public really need us 'greedy middlemen' to help them properly select a style well suited for fit and vision?

A: thought experiment for today's dynamic dispensing environment.