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Reichert Technologies Celebrates 100 Years of Phoroptor!

Phoroptor has paved the path for innovation and optical excellence in the eye care industry.




(PRESS RELEASE) BUFFALO, NY — Reichert Technologies — a business unit of AMETEK, Inc. and a global leader in designing, engineering, and manufacturing high-quality eye care diagnostic devices — celebrates 100 years of making vision clearer with Phoroptor!

On January 10, 1922, the United States Patent & Trademark Office granted a registered trademark to the word Phoroptor, to coincide with its first model release. Ever since, Phoroptor has been synonymous with vision care. This iconic refracting instrument has helped transform eye care with its ability to provide practitioners a better, faster, and more efficient way to perform vision tests. From the very first model 100 years ago, to the modern Phoroptor VRx Digital Refraction System, Phoroptor has paved the path for innovation and optical excellence in the eye care industry.

In 1915, Henry DeZeng, a New Jersey inventor, introduced the Model 570 Phoro-Optometer. This would be the foundation of what was to follow. In 1922, DeZeng released the No. 584 Phoroptor, the first official Phoroptor refracting instrument. American Optical Company, the predecessor to Reichert, brought Phoroptor to the forefront of vision care after acquiring DeZeng Standard in 1925. The Additive Effective Power 589 Phoroptor was released in 1934, which included the addition of the Jackson Cross Cylinder lenses, and the iconic question, “Better 1 or better 2?” By the mid-1960s, American Optical Company released the Ultramatic RX Master Phoroptor, introducing the shape and functionality we’re all familiar with today.

As Phoroptor became the standard for every eye care professional as a means of providing accurate and efficient eye exams, the technology behind it also evolved. In 2003, Reichert released the patented, LED-based Illuminated Phoroptor model to the accolades of practitioners who could now see the dials in a dim exam room. In 2015, Reichert unveiled the all-new Phoroptor VRx Digital Refraction System, which is operated by a computerized controller and capable of interfacing directly with Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and can now perform remote refractions via telehealth systems, making it possible to see more patients in more places.

Phoroptors have been built and tested at our state-of-the-art facility in Buffalo, New York, since the 1930s, making them the only refractors designed and assembled in the United States. Decades of American quality and craftsmanship go into each and every Phoroptor before they are shipped out every single day to all corners of the world. It’s hard to imagine the eye care industry without the Phoroptor! What’s next? Stay tuned.

To read more of the 100-year evolution of Phoroptor, and how Reichert will commemorate its anniversary with the eye care community, visit




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