We’ve discussed the necessary evil of puff non-contact tonometers with the Topcon CT-80, and although we like that unit, there’s also a lot to like about the AT550. Unlike the CT-80 from Topcon (or any NCT for that matter), the Reichert has no joystick, chin rest, or viewfinder camera for that matter. In fact, the AT550 couldn’t be further in operation than any other NCT we currently offer on the marketplace because of these absences. Most units require operator guidance and the absolute proper alignment to capture an actual IOP– but the AT550 does all the work for you. Once the patient’s forehead is aligned accordingly, simply push the capture button and the unit does all the rest. There’s no need to stare much at the monitor as there’s no live feed to check the alignment. Instead, there’s a target that self-aligns and fires the puff when ready. You can watch it on the screen go to work– almost as if you’re watching an arcade game run through a demo. Of course, the absence of a chin rest and operator-unit manipulation has us skeptical at first with alignment errors, however the AT550 self-aligns on most patients, and does so quite quickly and without fuss; there’s a lot to like here. We did find that elderly or uncooperative patient’s missed the chin rest, and at times found it difficult to hold still; something that is common among NCTs anyways. We find the Reichert AT550 to be as accurate as all other NCTs and still aesthetically quite modern compared to the current lineup.
OUR TAKE: Auto-alingment and auto-capture resemble an arcade game that comes through nearly every time.
#1. An Arcade Of Absences
Look again, the AT-550 has no such chin rest, joystick, or viewfinder camera to speak of. Something that may seem rather odd for a non-contact tonometer relying on proper distance and alignment. Yet instead of the NCT being reliant on you doing all the work, the self-contained AT-550 captures accurate IOPs with just the touch of a button. Once the patient has his/her forehead against the rest, the unit automatically finds the eye, aligns its axis’, and captures a measurement all without interference. It resembles less of a typical pretest instrument and more like an arcade video game.
#2. Gentle Air-Puff
It’s difficult for us to measure just how much softer the AT550 is than other instruments, however Reichert claimed (back in the day) that their instrument produced the softest air-puff available, and we won’t argue with it. Although the unit’s puff was comparable to brand new units from NIDEK in our clinical testing, the AT550’s puff is quite soft, and the entire unit in general is far less intimidating given the absence of an optical head moving back and forth. In a comparable test, the AT550 produced a marginally softer air-puff than Topcon’s CT-80.
#3. Clinically Comparable to GAT
A 2002 study indicated that the Reichert AT550 produced clinically comparable IOP results with those obtained with Goldmann tonometry, in a population with IOP within the normal range. This study is consistent with our clinical findings, and produces results marginally more accurate than that of handheld devices. Given the Reichert’s self-contained air nozzle, the unit should never need maintenance, and is far less likely to become uncalibrated during its lifetime.
It does have RS-232 connections outputs, however it will depend on your EHR company and whether they’ve offered the gateway for such device.
Yes. The unit will take the average of multiple measurements of each eye respectively, and produce them on the print as well.