Clinic Blog: 2012 Mexico Clinic Blog
November 14, 2012
Here is a great entry from our resident Chabella expert, Robert Martins from Canada, to tell you what they are and how they're made!:
"What is a Chabella? One of the stations at clinic is the Production department. In the Central LOM labs, lens blanks are selected and then generated to produce the desired optical characteristics, then polished, coated and finally edged to the shape of the frame. In the Clinic, all of that work has been completed before the Clinic starts. The key difference is the frames - all Chabella frames are round - looking like Harry Potter glasses (or John Lennon is you're of an older generation!). This ensures all of the lenses fit the frames without needing edging - all of the lens stock has already been cut circular - it then becomes a matter of matching the lens selection to the patients needs.
The IMS department's doctors select the lens type from the available inventory and send the job over to Production. Chabella's are intended to suplement the pre-made glasses - to fill in the gaps in inventory. How many gaps there are (and therefore how many Chabella's need to be produced) depends on the available finished stock inventory and the demographics of the patient base being served. As finished stock is exhausted over the course of the Clinic, the Chabellas can help fill in those gaps.
To make a Chabella, the lenses are selected from the pre-cut lens inventory. The typical available range of lenses are from Plane to +/- 4.00 and up to a -2.75 cyl. The empty frames are opened up enough to pop in the lens and then before they are scewed down tight, the axis needs to be set. The glasses are placed in the Lensometer with the lense still loose in the frame. The power is dialed in on the Lensometer and the axis dial set as needed. Then the lenses are rotated until the desired axis is set. The frame is tighted to maintain the axis firmly in the frame. The process is repeated for the other eye and then the completed pair is inspected to make sure all optical parameters are correctly set to the Doctor's (and patients !) requirements. To make a pair of Chabellas only takes a few minutes - the major time component being unsrewing the frame and inserting the lenses - the frame screws can be quite stubborn sometimes!
Through the first 6 days of this clinic we have produced over 400 pairs of Chabellas - which has kept the Production Department hopping! The best part of working in Production is that the glasses are so unique once they are completed. We are fortunate to be staying within walking distance of the Clinic site and also of the town center area. Each evening we walk to dinner, often through the square in front of the Cathedral. Yesterday there was a little girl of about 9 years old playing with her friends and wearing one of our Chabellas - that really makes all of the effort (and the sore finger tips and occasional screwdriver puncture wound...) worth the trouble. So if you are ever selected for a Mission - try and get assigned for at least a day to the Production Department. You will gain valuable Lensometer experience and you will never forget which way a screw turns - Lefty Loosey - Righty Tighty !
Special Tanks to Jacqueline Smallwood and Crystal Schintz for all of their hard work in Production. At my last Clinic in South Africa we produced 87 Chabells in 2 weeks. We've done 5 times that many with still a day to go !
In closing - a big Beunos Dias to everyone at the Main LOM Lab in Winnipeg - while you were shovelling snow over the weekend we were sufferning through +30C heat!