Article Date: 10/1/2003

instrumental strategies
Lensometry Goes High Tech

Reichert's AL200 is an autolensometer you can rely on.
Alex Crinzi, O.D.

One of the first instruments any ophthalmic practitioner reaches for is a lensometer. Whether it's for determining the patient's prescription or for verifying an order from the lab, you need an accurate and efficient method of determining the refractive power of a lens.

Once upon a time . . .

As an optometrist who began as an optician some 30-plus years ago, lensometry with a manual lensometer is second nature to me. But my practice has grown from a small one in an HMO into a multi-location practice with assistants collecting patient data. As we grew, we found that teaching lensometry was time consuming. We were often given incorrect data and would have to recheck. All this promised to change with the advent of "auto lensmeters."

Early auto lensmeters were rectangular boxes with various displays and alignment devices. Even though I'm typically a "techie" who likes the latest toy, in my experience, these early models were temperamental and expensive. I stayed with a manual unit.

Then Reichert introduced a new auto lensometer that looked similar to the Bausch & Lomb Model 70 Vertometer. It was a new concept in lensometry -- different from anything on the market. Reichert wanted to target the ophthalmic practitioner who desired accurate, automatic readings without the high price. This was the birth of the Reichert "LensChek." We used the original LensChek for several weeks. Although it seemed accurate, our staff spent too much time trying to center the lenses properly. Again we decided to stay with the manual unit.

It's easy to train your staff on Reichert's AL200 lensometer

Technology scores

The new Reichert AL200 Auto Lensometer has changed that. The classic manual lensometer shape still stands, but Reichert has introduced a user interface that's more intuitive -- it's similar to the target you see in a manual lensometer. Lens centering is easier to accomplish and "locks in" automatically when approaching the target in the middle of the display. In auto mode, you can measure a complete set of spectacles without pressing a single button. It allows for measurement of single, multifocal and progressive lenses. In progressive mode, directional arrows help locate the progressive channel.

The setup menu offers many options for how you read your lenses: Resolution in 0.01D, 0.12D or 0.25D steps, plus or minus cylinder, prism in base or axis and even settings for the abbe value. But just as you seldom use all 20 features on a VCR, you can customize the AL200 for your style, and then simply read lens after lens.

It's cost effective too

The AL200 readings are easy to obtain, reproducible and remove the subjectivity of the operator. The optional printer lets you eliminate errors transferring the information to paper. And training is quick -- most of our staff were able to use the instrument within minutes of the brief introduction. Those accustomed to using a manual lensometer initially would check the reading with a manual instrument, but I've noticed they now trust the AL200.

If you have more than one office, plan on purchasing multiple units -- the price of the AL200 makes this possible. Its cost, especially considering the ease of employee training, makes the AL200 an economical choice.



Optometric Management, Issue: October 2003