The eyewear industry has been going through a lot of changes. First we transitioned from picking out glasses at the eye doctor's office to selecting frames from a wide array of options sold on the internet.
And just as the industry got used to the disruptive business style brought by Warby Parker and similar firms, 3D printing may change things up again — this time with a sustainability angle as well.
Youmawo GmbH is a German company that uses 3D printing to produce "bespoke" glasses. Customers pick their style of frames then have a computer scan their face to customize the frames specifically to fit them. In three to six weeks, they get a pair of custom glasses. (The company's brand, You Mawo, is working with eye doctors at this point, so the frames are sold exclusively through an optician's office at this point.)
Now Youmawo says that not only do the glasses fit better, thanks to a sustainability study by EOS and Fraunhofer EMI, but also the company claims that the frames have a smaller environmental footprint.
Our sister paper Sustainable Plastics writes that 3D printed eyewear outperformed traditional competitors in 18 categories including climate change and water use. The carbon footprint of a customized 3D printed pair of You Mawo is 58 percent lower than traditional glasses and generates 80 percent less waste, the company says.