Predicting the progression of glaucoma is one of the biggest challenges to optometrists today. Fortunately, Reichert Technologies now offers the Ocular Response Analyzer (ORA), which measures corneal hysteresis (CH) and corneal compensated IOP (IOPcc), providing a better tool for the evaluation and management of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG). Along with the ORA, the global leader is proud to offer an arsenal of advanced technologies to help eyecare professionals improve and preserve sight.
At our recent Eyes On Glaucoma event, we sat down with Ian Lee-Bennett to discuss Reichert Technologies' distinguished past and get a preview of what we can expect in the future. Lee-Bennett is AMETEK UPT division vice president and business unit manager with Reichert Technologies who has been involved in the optics world for more than 25 years.
A brief history of Reichert Technologies
From its beginnings as a modest jewelry store making steel spectacle frames to the global company it is today, Reichert Technologies has always been on the leading edge of the optics industry. Initially founded by William Beecher in 1826, the company became American Optics under the guidance of Robert Cole.
According to Lee-Bennett, “We started out in the 1860s, but all the time we've been developing and innovating new technology, from the lensmeters in the 1920s. The Ultramatic Rx Master Phoroptor® is still, at this moment, seen as a world-leading manual Phoroptor®. Even though technology has moved on, it's still one of the best manual phoroptors in the world, really.”
The company, which manufactures its products in the US, began producing tonometers in the 70s, including the first non-contact tonometer, and then ventured into the handheld tonometry market. Now, their product line-up includes Tono-Pen Tonometer, iPac Pachymeter, Digital Phoroptors, newly innovated ClearChart Digital Acuity Systems, and the pioneering CATS Tonometer Prism.
However, one of their most significant contributions came with the introduction of the ORA. Lee-Bennett stated, “Another huge development, in the very early 2000s, was the development and the ability to measure corneal hysteresis. This is where we can assess the corneal biomechanics and give a much richer data set to people to help understand and help diagnose conditions like glaucoma by giving more data than just the traditional intraocular pressure measurements.”
According to Lee-Bennett, “When we look at the range of products we have, we really have a solution there for every kind of eventuality and to give people a whole range of products they can use, whether they're the lower cost, easier-to-use products or ones for more detailed kind of diagnosis.”
To learn more about the multitude of innovative products Reichert Technologies makes available, visit their website HERE!
Reichert’s patient-centric philosophy
Like Reichert Technologies, Lee-Bennett is passionate about eyecare and shares their mission to facilitate better patient care through safer, more efficient technologies.
Lee-Bennett explained, “I think the fundamental thing is I've always been a really strong believer in leveraging innovation to solve problems and develop new products. And it's really at the core of our vision and our mission here at Reichert. We really believe in innovation. We believe in teamwork. And we believe in integrity.”
Elaborating, he said, “We genuinely try to offer the best tools possible to help diagnose and to help manage patients. And, in my career, it's great to be working in an industry where you can see such a direct correlation between the things you do and the products you develop and the improvements that really give to people in society at large.”
With a focus on glaucoma
As mentioned earlier, the company is very enthusiastic about ORA’s role in increasing the understanding of glaucoma risk, onset, and how well different treatment regimes are working. Lee-Bennett explained, “Prior to the introduction of the ORA, discussions around corneal biomechanics were really sort of theoretical. I think people understood that there must be an importance of the biomechanics of the cornea, not just the internal pressure, but there was no real way to measure those properties.”
Lee-Bennet is thrilled to see glaucoma researchers and opinion leaders giving these meaningful new metrics their due attention, which has resulted in over 800 peer-reviewed publications, dozens of book chapters, and entirely new sections of programs in most industry congresses.
Eyecare innovations on the horizon
Of course, Reichert Technologies always keeps a clear vision of the future. With an increasing demand for vision care worldwide and growing 55+ population, they are poised to meet the need. Lee-Bennett said, “Optometry is the biggest opportunity to increase medical eyecare amongst existing patients and expand the care to the elderly and the at-risk populations. That's really what we're trying to do.”
He added, “As we look to 2021, we have a really big year. We've got some very exciting product launches coming out towards the end of the year where again we're going to bring a brand new technology to the to the Reichert portfolio to give people, again, access to the tools to make better measurements and help diagnose conditions. It's an extraordinary heritage really, and I really see that continuing as we go forward.”