Bringing to light optician's true profession and the importance of eyewear customization

Author: Beatrice Castioni

Retail Inspiration
May 21, 2021

Alessandro Ruffo and Alessandro Zanolini, Opticians

Where? Verona

Since when? 2002

Shop Type: Independent Optician

Opticians: Alessandro Ruffo and Alessandro Zanolini
Brands: Amen, Bob Sdrunk, Emilio Pucci, Kreuzberg Kinder, Moody, Tom Ford Eyewear, Saint Laurent, Snob Milano, Kyme, Lusso Artigiano, Web Eyewear, Vuarnet France.

Q: Tell us about the design of your glasses. How important was it for you to create something unique and extremely personalized?

A: The project was born from the idea of bringing to light the true profession of the optician, who once built from scratch both the frame and the lenses. Now we can no longer build the lenses in the lab since we have reached very high technical levels. We work with companies that produce them for us. The glasses, on the other hand, still enjoy our craftsmanship and special endeavours, an achievement for which we can be proud. How do we proceed? We start with a chat with the client, to understand what features their custom-made glasses should have and what shape will fit their face. We create a general design and then we make at least three proposals of glasses to choose from. With the help of our sample book, the cellulose acetate is chosen, and after these first phases we start with the handmade realization of the glasses, which requires about 50 hours of processing. From the raw material, we then create perfectly tailored glasses always with the constant supervision of those who commissioned it. It’s important for us to get the client to do some trials to know if we’re moving in the right direction. After about four weeks of work, we deliver the finished product. It’s a process that requires a lot of time, but that gives us satisfaction.

Q: Customization also involves the field of progressive lenses that you propose to customers. Can you explain?

A: Exactly. We rely on the Zeiss Group to get the progressive Smartlife lenses, which have a much wider field of vision than normal ones. In fact, these lenses allow a simultaneous perception of both eyes of 40% wider than traditional lenses. Each age group has their own visual needs and a different approach to the stress of a digital lifestyle. For this reason, we calculate the date of birth of the customer, to be able to ensure a product suitable for his anatomical and physiological changes. Our customers are happy with this possibility: among other things, they find it less difficult to move from close-up vision to vision from a distance.

Q: Among your services, you offer advice on colored, visual or purely aesthetic lenses. Have you found much interest in this possibility?

A: We offer advice for the purchase of colored lenses, graduated or not, but we must say that the market for cosmetic lenses is still niche, although of interest to customers. However, we know that some companies are focusing on the production of daily cosmetic lenses, and we are receptive to any new developments. For Ottica Diaz it is an added value, as well as the fact that we carry out home delivery, even before the problems related to Covid.

Q: You support AIRCMO for new ophthalmological research, and institutions operating for poorer countries. What does it mean for you to collaborate with these realities?

A: The commercial group to which we belong, the Italian Optical Association, is connected to the Onlus Aircmo (Italian Association for Research and Treatment of Diseases, for the treatment and research of eye diseases). For this reason, a part of our turnover is donated to this non-profit organization, and for us it is a symbol of prestige, being able to carry out voluntary activities. Just think that in 2019, 85,000 euros were donated to a hospital in Pisa, to follow and help young people who have pathologies that have led them to blindness.

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