Recently, I was struck by a thought while writing a continuing education piece on past and present lens making and another article about modern-day scientists who develop sophisticated formulas and methodologies to produce better lens design and manufacturing processes. Both appear in this double November/December issue of 20/20. The thought that occurred to me was how skeptical we have become when we hear the plethora of industry claims, particularly when the message is delivered in marketing speak. Is it OK to admit if your eyes glaze over as yet another lens manufacturer throws some intimidating technology description at you to WOW you with their genius? It’s OK and understandable; most of us are not geniuses, despite what I tell my husband, so we cannot fully comprehend the math and science behind these incredible technological breakthroughs in lens design and manufacturing. After all, it requires math, physics and optical engineering genius to create complex algorithms for free-form lenses and the equipment to produce them. A degree of faith is needed when technical scientific explanations are beyond our understanding, just as we trust in the engineers as we drive across an expansion bridge or fly at 30,000 feet and higher in a commercial airplane. When tempted to view these exciting announcements about technological breakthroughs through a skeptics’ lens and proclaim it empty marketing hype, I challenge you to look beyond the messages of bigger, better, more. Consider—are they giving a scientifically based explanation that has been peer-reviewed? Have the technologies/products been tested subjectively and objectively, and results shared? In other words, are they providing proof that it works?
I am frequently awestruck by the brilliant minds of the past and present, and grateful for the brilliance that inspired the inventions and technologies that make modern society possible. Take a moment to appreciate the genius of the optical industry optical engineers, mathematicians and scientists, the unsung heroes of the optical industry. They are pioneering and charting the future of lenses. They deserve our awe, appreciation and respect.
• Deborah Kotob
Pro to Pro Director