Because I was really into Barbies at age 6 when I first got prescription lenses, my very first pair of eyeglasses were huge and bright pink…I shudder to look at pictures of myself from that time period with my big pink glasses and permed hair. But while you can’t change the past, 3D printing is making it possible to elevate, and customize, the future of eyeglasses.
European startup Dear Deer Eyewear, founded by two friends who happen to also be marketing professionals, is based in Lithuania, and created a system that allows consumers to buy glasses online that fit perfectly and are custom-made just for them.
“We want to tell you that optic industry still lives in dark ages. Did you know that 91% of all glasses are sold in retail optic shops? We are on a mission to change that for good,” the startup’s CEO Justas Å idlauskas told 3DPrint.com.
“We use augmented reality and 3D printing and we actually make one-of-a-kind bespoke custom made glasses or sunglasses.”
According to the website, Å idlauskas and his co-founder, EglÄ— Å idlauskienÄ—, created the company because they were “unable to find glasses that really showed what we really are.” With Dear Deer Eyewear, you can design all aspects of your glasses, from the shape of the frames to the color of the lenses.
Then, the startup uses 3D printing to create the frames for your bespoke, lightweight pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses, and ships them right to your doorstep – in a leather bag, no less – in two weeks or less. If you’re not happy, you can get a full refund within 30 days, no questions asked, and the frames and lenses come with a 100%, two-year warranty. But the best part? Every single pair costs â‚¬145, including the lenses.
“No matter how you customize your glasses '“ every pair costs the same â‚¬145,” the startup explains on the website. “We believe that when you want to buy an apple pie, you don't go and buy your dough and apples separately. So, not like most eyewear retailers, we don't separate the prices of your frames and lenses. Pick a colour, make it personal with your text, choose prescription lenses or sunglasses '“ the price won't grow higher. Bon appetit!”
I have spent many hours in my life combing the racks at optical shops, searching for pairs of glasses that were in my price range while also fitting my face well. Dear Deer Eyewear has no set stock of eyeglasses – once a consumer places an order, the startup gets to work making it, which makes it completely worth it to me. Plus, this generates less waste, which makes the process more sustainable.
Speaking of sustainability, the frames are 3D printed with strong, flexible polyamide material, and both the material and dye used have been certified “in medical quality.” The startup was able to use design optimization to make the frames more lightweight, so a custom pair of glasses with the lenses only weigh about 19 grams – as the website states, you won’t even be able to feel them on your nose.
Dear Deer Eyewear also offers blue light-blocking filters with its glasses, which help customers avoid red and itchy eyes or headaches that are caused by our digital devices’ “harmful blue light,” and makes it possible to sleep better as well.
Naturally, I wanted to see how easy the design process was, so I clicked the “Create Yours” tab on the website to make my own pair of Dear Deer glasses. The process is only made up of three steps – choose the model, color, and size of the frames; add up to eight characters of text to the inside and outside of the arms; and enter your prescription details.
There are 14 different models, 10 available colors, and the size ranges from 120 to 150 mm; for my custom pair, I chose the Fallow style, in Dark Red, with a size of 130 mm. In the parameter modification section, the text defaults to ‘deer’ on the right, ‘dear’ on the left, and ‘express yourself’ on the inside. I added my name to the right side of the frames, and changed the left text to ‘dear deer,’ but decided to leave the inner text the same.
Then, you can select Prescription (clear), Brown, Grey, or Green for the lenses (I just left it as the default Prescription), and then you can add your specific prescription details at the bottom; you can also choose to send those details later, or select the ‘I don’t need prescription lenses’ option.
“Enter your prescription details. From +6,00 to -8,00, we've got you covered! Need higher prescription? Contact us to get a quote '“ we'll help you out,” the website states.
The Dear Deer Eyewear website also lets you order a free online eye exam.
Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[Images: Dear Deer Eyewear]