When searching the web for lens companies, each manufacturer will market their product to be the ‘best’. Manufacturers will ‘wow’ the consumer with great marketing ploys which include super graphics, big technical words, repetition and even, psychology. Before a consumer has looked at any of the stats, they are won over by the visual enticement of the brand rather than the performance of the product.
As a passionate dispensing optician, I will demonstrate to article readers why TOKAI are amongst my favourite lens companies, and I will do so with real examples; my patients*.
Customer responses were collated over a period of 4 weeks from the collection of their order. I wanted to assess the initial response to the new spectacles (particularly the TOKAI lenses) and then follow this up with further observations after wearing the spectacles for much longer. My customers were able to contact me at work and via email.
Measures were taken to control all of the orders for lens optimisation. This includes careful frame selection, extra lens fitting measurements and final adjustments at collection.
Real Case Study Patient 1
- Early 40’s
- Doesn’t like wearing spectacles
- Wears contact lenses 12-13 hours a day
- Right Eye) -3.25DS / -0.75DC x 69
- Left Eye) -4.00DS / -0.50DC x 85
Px 1 wearing poorly dispensed spectacles in downward ‘angle gaze’ (image 1) and ‘front view’ (image 2), exhibiting excessive frame splay
Px 1: spectacles recently purchased elsewhere exhibiting frame ‘splay’ (image 3) and further ‘temple hook’ fitting (image 4)
Interestingly, this patient (Px) had just purchased a new pair of spectacles from Specsavers a few months ago. His prescription (Rx) had not changed in approximately 10 years but he wanted to update his style of eyewear. As a customer, he was dissatisfied with his new purchase from Specsavers. He wanted some advice and so I guided him through a selection of frame choices before discussing the lenses.
By observing image 1, we can see that the frame supplied by Specsavers doesn’t fit. The frame is wide and the fitting over the ears is so poor, that the patient had to order ‘temple hooks’ from elsewhere, to prevent the frame from continuously slipping forward. The solution was to start again with a brand new frame and couple this with quality lenses that were designed to stay in line with the contours of the frame.
- Patient 1 – Dispensed by Reena Bains
- Frame – Tom Ford TF5505, colour code 005, size 50×19-145
- Lenses – TOKAI 1.76 LTN SPS P-UV1
- Delivery time – Tokai received the delivery on 16.12.2019 and I received the order back on 31.12.2019 (15 days including Christmas/New Years holidays).
”Photograph’s really do speak a thousand words
(Image 5) New spectacles with TOKAI lenses exhibiting superior frame alignment
(Image 6) New spectacles with TOKAI lenses exhibiting clear lens clarity
The new dispense has exactly the same prescription as the customers previous spectacles but the fitting and aesthetics are leaps and bounds ahead of the poorer dispense.
Patient 1 – Response in short excerpts:
“Wow…there is no edge thickness at all”
“…much lighter than all of my previous glasses”
“The vision is so clear; no distortion at all”
“My initial response is definitely a 10/10 for the glasses”
(Image 7) Px 1 wearing new spectacles in downward gaze, (Image 8) Px 1 Optimum nose and ear fitting with new glasses, (Image 9) Px 1 New spectacles in ‘front gaze’ exhibiting excellent fit and Superior TOKAI lens clarity
When prompted to compare the new spectacles to his most current glasses, the patient responded that the vision was much clearer than his current purchase from elsewhere. He added that these were the best glasses that he had ever had. The point to be noted is that his most recent purchase from Specsavers was only a few months old and the exact same prescription to the new spectacles, but the Tokai lenses were producing a far more superior standard of vision.
I asked if the customer would be happy to wear the spectacles home, without reverting back to his contact lenses, and his response was a ‘yes’.
Patient 1 contacted me the same evening with a very positive response. He said that the television was amazingly clearer and that the drive home was very comfortable.
Catching up with this customer after a few weeks, I asked if he needed to come in for any further adjustments but he said that he was very happy with them as they were and that he forgets that he is wearing new glasses. His wife loved the new look commenting that they were “very smart and modern”. After many years of contact lens wear, Patient 1 felt that his eyes were becoming progressively tired and sore. The new spectacles were a breath of fresh air, and for the first time in more than 20 years, Px 1 wore glasses to work.
Real Case Study Patient 2
- Mid 50’s
- Wears Contact Lenses 50% of the time
- Current spectacles are from July 201
- Right Eye) -18.00DS / -0.50DC x 5
- Left Eye) -12.50DS / -0.50DC x 30
Px 2: Older spectacles from 2016 (image 10); New spectacles with TOKAI lenses, 2020 (image 11)
Patient 2 came in for a routine contact lens check-up and sight test. There had been minimal change in the prescription (Rx). Patient 2 has a very good pair of ‘distance vision’ spectacles dispensed by myself, in 2016 (different brand of lenses). However, with such a critical Rx, it was suggested that we update the glasses and keep the current spectacles as a spare pair. Patient 2 is a valued customer at the practice that I work at. With a high ‘minus’ prescription, that is also anisometropic (both eyes have a significant difference in Rx), my patient is aware that a period of adaption is required with all prescription changes.
- Patient 2 – Dispensed by Reena Bains
- Frame – Lazer 2192, colour GUN, size 48×16-130
- Lenses – TOKAI 1.76 AS LTN SPS P-UV1
- Delivery time – Tokai received the delivery on 13.01.2020 and I received the order back on 22.01.2020 (9 days).
Patient 2 – Response in short excerpts:
“Better overall. Looks more natural in the mirror”
“…settled in straight away”
“Much better finish than the old (spectacles)”
Px 2 contacted me with his updates a few weeks later. Small adjustments were required so these were done in branch. The frame showed ‘no splay’, which ordinarily, with a high minus prescription would have happened. Subsequently, the spectacles were not loose but actually a little bit tight over the ears. This is easily adjusted by warming the end-tips of the spectacles and reducing the curve and its tapered angle at the back of the ear, to ease off the pressure. The nose-pads were also slightly adjusted to aid comfort.
Px 2: New spectacles without any frame ‘stretch’ (image 12)
Px 2: Tokai Eye Care Design Lutina (Video 1)
My 2nd candidate is happily wearing his spectacles more than his previous glasses. By changing the lens type to TOKAI, the visual comfort and aesthetic appeal have certainly increased. By reducing distortions on the lens, my customer can effortlessly swap from spectacles to contact lenses with easy ‘focus’ adaption. I know my candidate’s family very well since they are regular customers at our branch. It was important to know their thoughts too. Children always give brutally honest opinions and, in their words “…(the) new specs look better than the old, narrow, ‘squinty’ looking specs”. The new spectacles are larger than the predecessor glasses in following with current trends. With such a high Rx, many years ago, this would have been taboo. However, with pioneering TOKAI technology, it is possible to be fashionable without compromising comfort.
Px 2: Photographs taken of new spectacles in ‘side’ gaze (image 13) and ‘front’ gaze (image 14)
Real Case Study Patient 3
- Early 60’s
- Wears spectacles all of the time
- Current spectacles are from April 2017
- Right Eye) +6.00DS / -0.75DC x 45
- Left Eye) +5.00DS / -2.50DC x 160
- +2.50 Reading Addition both eyes
Px 3’s older spectacles, from 2014 (image 15), and Px 3’s NEW TOKAI spectacles, dated 2020 (image 16)
My 3rd candidate had popped into the opticians for a routine ‘MOT’ for her current eyewear. After some simple maintenance steps, including changing the nose pads, we discussed her current spectacles just to see how she was getting on with them. Px 3 was already impressed by TOKAI technology because I had introduced her to this pioneering company in 2017, and these were her most current spectacles. Patient 3 continues to be impressed with the Tokai lenses since they were much thinner than her predecessor spectacles, but she hoped to get them even lighter at the next dispense.
Being a Dispensing Optician, I am careful about balancing the dynamics between the frame and lens weight ratios. If lenses are heavy and the frame is disproportionately light with ‘flimsy’ sides, by the force of gravity, the heavier lenses will keep pulling the frame down the nose. Patient 3 was booked in for a routine sight test for us to see if a new Rx was necessary.
Following an up-to-date eye exam, we found that the prescription hadn’t changed significantly but my patient wanted to review her frame style. My next challenge was to create a new pair of glasses that surpassed the current TOKAI order.
- Patient 3 – Dispensed by Reena Bains
- Frame – Modo 4222, colour Dark Burgundy, 51×16
- Lenses – TOKAI 1.76 LTN-P RESONAS-X2 GRAY3 PGC VSC4
- Delivery time – Tokai received the delivery 20.01.20 and I received the order back 08.02.20 (9 days)
After a ‘frame style’ consultation, we opted for a light-weight titanium frame but with rigid sides that would hold the frame in place. My customer wanted ‘fashion’ as well as ‘excellent optics’ and spectacles that were even ‘lighter’ than the current eyewear.
Px 3 wearing her new spectacles; March 2020 (image 17)
Patient 3: The emailed response dated 1st March, 2020
“I thought I would send an e-mail to confirm all the positive comments I have made to you when we were chatting about the lenses and the spectacles in store.
The lightness of the lenses, and how thin they are, has made a huge difference to how comfortable I feel. There is no distortion of the ‘size of my eyes’ or any distortion at the edges of the lenses. They do not protrude over the edges of the frames even though the frames are very thin.
I don’t have any discomfort with the spectacles behind my ear or on my nose even though I wear them all day. I wear ‘over the ear’ hearing aids and the spectacles work very well with these sitting next to my ear.
The metallic frames are stylish and work well with the lenses. Everyone has commented on how stylish the spectacles look and they can’t believe how thin the lenses are with my prescription especially compared to previous lenses. My husband is impressed and likes the bright modern style of the spectacles.
I am very happy with the lenses and the frames together. I can’t thank you enough for the time you have taken to explain every step of the process and the care and attention to detail you have shown. And you are always very kind and caring which makes the whole process much easier”.
Older spectacles with different branded lenses (2014) with greater lens thickness and more ‘bulbousness’ (image 18). New TOKAI order (2020) with the thinnest varifocal lenses (image 19)
Patient 3 – Response in short excerpts:
“So much lighter!”
“Vision is clearer”
“…I feel immediate visual comfort with no distortion”
“I have a natural head position for reading…no pigeon head movements”
Patient 3 took measures to weigh all of her spectacles dating from 2014 to the newest pair, and the results were astounding.
(Image 20) 2014 specs, 40g total weight, (Image 21) 2017 (1st time TOKAI lenses) 33g total weight, (Image 22) 2020 (TOKAI lenses**) 24g weight
Less weight; added comfort
As the TOKAI lenses have become so much thinner and lighter, it gives consumers a greater range of choice to buy lightweight frames. Gone are the days where we have to balance thicker, heavier lenses into ‘bulkier’ frame styles.
When we have to wear spectacles on a daily basis, the weight of the glasses can cause discomfort. There is a vast difference between wearing 40 grams on the bridge of our nose daily, and spectacles that are nearly half the weight. Candidate 3 commented that there was “no nose-drag” with the new glasses. This is referring to the skin being tugged by the weight of the glasses at the bridge of the nose. In short, Px 3 was delighted by her new purchase.
Thin lens materials & special coatings
I would like to mention, that by observing some of the photographs of the TOKAI lenses, one may notice a faint blue to grey colourisation of the lens. The colour is minimal and it is a by-product of the advanced protective coating system that is layered within the monomers of the lens. It does not give a bright coloured ‘bloom’ like some coatings on the market. The photochromic range also has a residual tint in its clear state but once again, this is due to the UV reacting particles within the material.
Each subject was given a ‘collection mandate’ to best describe their new glasses. As the dispenser, I was particularly observing the initial response to the new order, and with each patient, there was a unanimous ‘wow’!
All of the candidates were impressed for various reasons; be it the cosmetic value, enhanced vision or reduced weight. TOKAI ticked all of the boxes.
TOKAI are by far one of the most advanced lens companies. To sum it up, here are some of the reasons why:
- The thinnest lens in the world
- Superior vision (minimal distortions)
- High-tech cutting calculations to match frame contours
- Protection from high energy violet (HEV) light
- Thinner/lighter lenses increase frame choices
- Photochromic and tinted lenses are available in super-thin materials
- High curved lenses available in thin materials for wrap-around frames
- Available in single vision, varifocal and occupational corrections
I always quote approximately 3 weeks for complex prescription orders, but these orders were produced exceptionally fast, even during the festive period. Kudos to Tokai for the making and supplying of all of the orders for this small subject base, and for doing so, promptly and efficiently.
I would also like to thank all of the candidates who took part in this small project. Not only did they invest in new spectacles, but they took the time and effort to communicate their after-thoughts to me.
Lens companies will continue to compete for the top spot, but for now, TOKAI are most certainly the beacon holders.
* All patients for this article have signed a GDPR notification. Their names have not been used for the case study in any part. All measurements are private as per ‘data protection’ guidelines. I have the authority to use patient photograph’s, prescription and all other information that is relevant to this study. Oodo and all its contents are protected by Trademark Law. Any unauthorised copy or misuse of content are subject to prosecution.
** TOKAI Lens markings for checking and verification process. These are removed before spectacle collection.
SPS P-UV is the TOKAI superpower shield with protection ultraviolet. This is Tokai’s premium standard advanced hydrophobic coating with direct and indirect UV protection.
RESONAS-X is the top of the range varifocal design by TOKAI featuring the premium double surface technology.
The photochromic function in colour grey (product spelling ‘GRAY’)
PGC VSC is the TOKAI pro guard coating with protection ultraviolet for the photochromic lenses. This is Tokai’s premium standard hydrophobic coating with direct and indirect UV protection for the photochromic lens range.
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