One-off eyeglasses, made using 3-D printing, are about to take off as a trend, thanks to smart technology that matches them to a wearer's face to give the most flattering appearance.

German 3-D printing company Framelapp presented a scanner at the recent Opti trade fair in Munich that can scan a person’s head and send the data to a printer. Based on the nose shape, distance between the eyes and other facial features, it makes the ideal spectacles.

After the initial scepticism, there are many opticians across Germany offering customers the option of 3-D printed glasses.

"3-D printing is going to revolutionize the industry sooner or later," thinks Hendrik Wieburg from Framelapp, which makes several thousand 3-D printed spectacles a year on behalf of opticians.

That’s still a small number compared to the entire German market but the big spectacle makers are watching developments very closely.

"3-D printing is no longer treated as something exotic. It’s going to establish itself in the market," says Ingo Ruetten from Germany’s association of opticians, the ZVA. It costs more, but the advantage is that the 3-D spectacles are custom-made to match the face.

Despite the optimism, some of Germany's biggest providers want to see how the smaller operators succeed before piling on board.

At online spectacle shop Mister Spex, management believes the technology has huge potential.

"We don’t have any glasses made using a 3-D printer yet, but we regularly review the technology," says Mister Spex founder, Dirk Graber.

Germany’s biggest high-street optician chain Fielmann, which sells stock frames in massive numbers, also sees big potential.

"We are watching developments," says Stefan Thies from Fielmann. 3-D printing technology would be a practicable way to supply Fielmann's designer glasses and prototypes, according to Thiess.

One down-side to 3-D printed spectacles is the price: a pair can cost the equivalent of 300 dollars retail to buy.

For a high-street optician, operating a scanner and a printer would be a service to offer to customers that online providers cannot match.

Last year about 650 000 spectacles were bought online in Germany according to the country’s optometrists’ association – that was about 33 per cent more than in 2013.

Nevertheless, Germany’s opticians will still have plenty of customers in future. About 40 million Germans wear corrective lenses.

More young Germans are also wearing spectacles than before. Nobody knows if smartphones are having a negative impact on eyesight. But staring at some kind of screen for large parts of the day cannot be easy on the eyes.

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.