Anne-Marie Lahr, OD, earned her doctor of optometry degree at The Ohio State University College of Optometry in 1991. She completed a primary care residency at The Eye Institute at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Philadelphia, as well as an international teaching fellowship at the Hogeschool van Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Since that time, Lahr dedicated her career to teaching, twice earning the Clinical Science Teacher of the Year Award and, most recently, the Educator of the Year Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University. Lahr has lectured extensively within the U.S. and abroad. She is currently the director of education for Hoya Vision
Richard Clompus, OD, FAAO: Optometrists have many choices in their career paths. What attracted you to product development and technical education at Hoya Vision Care?
Anne-Marie Lahr, OD: When I started out in optometry, I had no idea that I’d do anything other than patient care. I then stumbled into teaching optics, and I had to educate myself about lens designs and processing. What I learned is that Hoya has the best technology—and when Hoya asked me to be the director of education, I was excited to share the message—and I still am!
RC: Digital surfacing has revolutionized the fabrication of ophthalmic lenses. Where do you see this technology taking us in the next five years?
AL: I think of digital surfacing like Legos—everyone has the basic technology, but it’s what you do with those blocks that matters. Are you building a basic square or recreating the Statue of Liberty? Every lens manufacturer can say that they “digitally surface” or “free-form” a lens. But what does that mean? Lens manufacturers often take old, outdated lens designs and “digitally surface” them. At Hoya, we free-form a lens on both sides of the lens and split the vertical and horizontal components of the add onto two surfaces. In our premium lens designs, we’re not even dealing with a progressive surface, we’re combining two aspheric surfaces to create a progressive lens. In the future, personalization is where it’s at—considering position of wear, patient lifestyle needs, prior experience with a previously prescribed lens design—all these factors equate to better vision and quality of life for our patients.
RC: Providing high energy blue light protection combined with AR coatings is quickly growing in popularity. Can you share Hoya’s advancements in this area?
AL: Hoya was the first to successfully implement a blue light solution. Hoya’s advancements regarding blue light protection are multi-fold and ongoing. Hoya is always advancing our technologies to help protect patients from harmful HEV light and to ease the stress of chromatic aberration that is the result of viewing backlit HEV-emitting screens.
RC: Sharing insights about new lens technology is very important to keep our colleagues up to date. In this age of being busy and having short attention spans, what have you found to be the most successful way to communicate technology updates with practitioners?
AL: Ultimately, the bottom line is the benefit to the patient. To communicate the latest technology to opticians, technicians and staff, we offer free ABO courses on our online education portal, EmpowerU. For the OD, we find it valuable to have succinct marketing pieces as well as more in-depth literature, such as white papers. Of course, another tried and true method is to take the docs to dinner and give them a brief presentation while getting to know about them and the current and future needs of the profession while enjoying good food and wine. OO