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Zeiss unveils new HQ, launches UV protect

07/09/2018By Matthew Woodley
Zeiss opened the doors to its new state-of-the-art headquarters recently, as part of an event celebrating its upgraded facilities and the Australian launch of UV Protect technology. MATTHEW WOODLEY reports.

Set in the heart of the Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide’s south, Zeiss’s 4,000 sqm premises houses 115 staff across three distinct groups – Vision Care, Microscopy, and Medical Technology.

To commemorate the relocation, which was only completed in May, Zeiss invited 180 guests from across Australia and New Zealand to tour the facilities and also learn more about its latest major release, UV Protect technology.

Upon welcoming the guests, managing director for Zeiss Australia and New Zealand, Ms Hilke Fitzsimons likened the move to a caterpillar needing to leave its cocoon to transform into a butterfly.

"It’s important that whatever we create is relevant in today’s world, is relevant for you as our partners and customers,"
Hilke Fitzsimons, Managing director for Zeiss Australia and New Zealand

Fitzsimons said the change of scenery was about more than expanding its footprint and moving to a more central location, and that the opportunity to collaborate was a major motivating factor behind the decision.

“It’s important that whatever we create is relevant in today’s world, is relevant for you as our partners and customers,” Fitzsimons said.

“We want to challenge the limits of optics, we want to discover new things that haven’t been discovered before – but we can’t do it alone. We want to do it with partners, with guests, with likeminded people and at the end we want to also do it with our customers.”

Fitzsimons also referenced UV Protect and said its ability to filter harmful rays in clear plastic lenses had never been done before.

“Breakthroughs in technology and innovation have enabled us to support our scientists all around the world to launch a new product that will provide the same standard that you get in sun lenses,” she explained.

“We want to share that journey with you and explore the topic of UV, but also what we can do for you, our customers and practitioners.”

Prescription Laboratory

Zeiss’ new headquarters house four distinct areas – a sales and service centre for the ANZ market, a prescription laboratory, a research and development centre, and a global business solutions team.

The entire site apparently generates zero landfill, as all of the waste is either recycled or burned in concrete incinerators. The frame boxes are also made from 85% recycled material, while it has eliminated wet edging from the operation (apart from glass), saving around 750,000 litres of water per year.

Inside the prescription laboratory, efforts have been made to reduce order entry errors, resulting in an accuracy rate of 99.7%. Despite this, it is still able to churn out approximately 45 jobs an hour, while operating from 9am–10pm daily.

Zeiss’ global surfacing program is based in the research and development area at Tonsley – one of only four globally – and the site and its predecessor location were heavily involved in the advancement of its freeform technology. It was also reported that the same team had undertaken much of the monomer design for UV Protect.

Zeiss’ director of scientific affairs and technical communications, Dr Christian Lappe, and manager of special projects and diagnostic tools and instruments Mr Johan Coestee, gave a joint presentation on the technology behind UV Protect and its benefits.

AFT Pharmaceuticals

Previous information released by Zeiss had highlighted a gap in UV protection on industry standard lenses for light between 380–400 nanometres, which the company says is responsible for exposing around 80% of spectacles wearers to as much as 40% of what it says are the most harmful UV rays in the spectrum.

According to Zeiss, prolonged UV exposure has been linked with photoageing, eyelid cancer and cataracts, and Lappe said that UV-A was particularly dangerous compared with UV-B and UV-C.

He explained UV-A’s longer wavelength meant it was able to penetrate tissue more deeply, and therefore hit the retina and potentially cause damage.

He also demonstrated how UV irradiance enters the eye both through the front of the lens and also from light reflected off its back. However, by more than an order of magnitude more irradiance reaches the eye through the spectacle lens, compared to light reflected from the back surface of the lens.

Because of this, Lappe said clear lenses with a tailored UV absorber, such as UV Protect, were able to efficiently block the vast majority of UV rays from hitting the eye.

It was also pointed out that the majority of Zeiss representatives present had been fitted with spectacles that contained one standard lens and one with UV Protect, to demonstrate how difficult it is to discern the difference in lenses by sight (until looking through a UV camera, when the distinction becomes obvious).

Clinical Equipment

Event attendees were given a guided walkthough of Zeiss’ latest clinical offerings, including its four-in-one i.Profiler plus system, which contains an ocular wavefront aberrometer, autorefractometer, ATLAS corneal topographer and keratometer.

The instrument is able to perform full topography, including contact lens fitting and orthokeratology, and the autorefraction is based on wavefront data, preferably with measurements based on three pupil sizes.

It was pointed out that information derived from the i.Profiler plus, and other Zeiss instruments, could connect wirelessly with a database to transfer the information and measurements that are taken.

Preconfigured workflows tailored to specific patients and examiners were also mentioned as a potential option to make the various examination processes more efficient. This was demonstrated using the i.Com mobile software, which allows all measurements taken with Zeiss instruments to be reviewed on the iPad and automatically stored on the server, providing central access to all data from different iPads utilised in a practice.

The concept of a ‘wireless’ practice was a focus of almost all of the equipment on display and many of the instruments were able to connect with a database that contained the patient’s clinical information via Bluetooth adaptors or WiFi. It was recommended that practices using WiFi to connect instruments to a separate access point, and have everything else run off the normal system.


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