ONE-TO-ONE: KALPANA SINGH

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Kalpana Singh has a love of problem-solving so much so that it led her to become a chemical engineer, a profession about solving problems. Five years later, she pursued an MBA in marketing and strategy to further use those skills in deciding what products to bring to market. She has been in the medical devices field for more than 15 years and now serves as divisional vice president and business unit manager at Reichert Technologies. Optometric Office caught up with her at Optometry’s Meeting in Washington, DC, in June.

Jeffrey Eisenberg: Reichert brought optometrists the phoroptor, the lensometer and other instruments. The company has a long history.

Kalpana Singh: We have a pretty rich heritage, dating back almost 175 years now. We started as American Optical Company and throughout the years have transitioned into what we have now as Reichert.

Throughout that process, there have been many first innovations to the industry, including the lensometer and then phoroptors and non-contact tonometers (NCTs). Now we have our automated phoroptor, called the Phoroptor VRx, as well as the Ocular Response Analyzer G3 (ORA G3), which is an NCT that also measures corneal hysteresis.

JE: And corneal hysteresis is important in that it takes into account biomechanical properties of the cornea?

KS: Exactly. It provides an assessment of the risk of progressing into glaucoma. So it’s really how able is the cornea to withstand the pressures that are there. The ORA G3 is an additional tool. It does the IOP and it does corneal-compensated IOP (IOPcc) as well, but this additional corneal hysteresis measurement gives more breadth to the assessment.

JE: Over Reichert’s 175 years, there have been a lot of changes, including digital. Is that something that optometrists have been able to adopt?

KS: I would have expected the adoption to be much faster than it is. Having such a rich heritage with the manual phoroptor, we still see that that’s very prominent in the market, and we’re still producing many of those.

We also have the automated version of it, and it provides a lot of different tools to clinicians that they can take advantage of. For example, it improves efficiency in the practice. It’s also helpful from an ergonomic standpoint, as clinicians don’t have to raise their hands so many times to adjust lenses; they can do it at their fingertips. So, your pretest information automatically gets input into the Phoroptor VRx, and that gives you a very good starting point automatically. Once you’re done, instead of having to manually write down the numbers, it automatically goes into your electronic medical record.

JE: Are there any other directions that you see the profession heading in over the next several years?

 

KS: Having access to care but also having access to data and information and making that mobile, I think, is an interesting trend that will happen. So making sure that there’s care that’s accessible to everyone and then, once that care is given, making sure that information that’s generated is accessible to everyone. So the concept of telemedicine, I think, is very interesting, and remote care is also very interesting for those areas that don’t have ready access to care.

JE: What’s on the horizon for Reichert?

KS: At Reichert, we’re very focused on our core competencies, our technologies that are key for us, which are mainly refraction and tonometry. So phoroptors and how refractions are done are very interesting to us. And we’ll continue to innovate and make sure that we understand the pain points of the clinicians as well as patients and adapt our technology to meet those needs.

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