Cataract surgery is one of the world's most common operations: Every year, around ten million patients around the globe receive artificial lenses. This procedure allows them to see with more focus and recognize colors more vividly, pretty much overnight. ZEISS is supporting progress in this domain through numerous innovations, systems, and products.
A number of patents attest to the advances ZEISS Medical Technology is making in this field. In addition to expertise, the people who optimize products and processes day after day so that doctors are able to offer better help to their patients are vital here. People like Alexandra, Project Manager Research and Development in ZEISS' Medical Technology division. “We have analyzed the entirety of the traditional treatment procedure, from diagnosis to the operating room right through to cataract surgery after-care. We have seen potential for optimization in several places here – and integrated this into a new, innovative cataract workflow for doctor's practices and clinics.”
As Project Manager, Alexandra handles the entire process of creating a new system – from the initial idea and product design to the approval and full-scale production right through to shipping the product:
I am involved in every step of the product development process. This is what makes my job so varied – and also so exciting.
As it happens, Alexandra started out in a completely different area: “I grew up in France at the foot of the Pyrenees, near the coast. So I love the sea. I also completed my doctorate in Marine Biology in Brittany. Another love then led me to the Ostalb region in Germany," she adds, smiling. From there, it didn't take long for her to get to ZEISS: “I knew about the company with the blue logo from my studies. Whenever we received a new ZEISS device, there would be a party-like atmosphere on campus.” When looking for a new challenge, Alexandra applied for a job in the Medical Technology division at ZEISS in Oberkochen. “It was a good fit from the start. After two interviews, the job was mine. Then came a six-month training period. During this time, I got to know my colleagues, read up on the new subject in my own time, and learned so much.”
Alexandra took over managing the project team from her then boss before her probation period had even ended. She is now the project manager of a new phaco machine by ZEISS – an innovative system that helps doctors to treat cataracts. System components are made at a ZEISS production site in France, so Alexandra often communicates with the team there. “As a project manager at a German company, I think regularly working with international colleagues is truly special. It goes without saying that my native language also helps when collaborating with our ZEISS site in France,” Alexandra says with delight.
And what happens when the product is then approved and on the market? Alexandra works with doctors, suppliers and her team at ZEISS to continuously optimize the system further. The aim is to enhance this innovative product solution for cataract surgery. This role is so challenging that Alexandra completed a tailored training program for it: “I attended multi-day courses to receive further training in various fields. This included specific training, for example on injection molding, as well as project management training. So I can now play my part in a wide array of specialist fields.”
The fact that Alexandra can constantly learn more through training and further education is what she really loves about her job at ZEISS: “You always make progress here. There are always opportunities for continuing professional development.” And what is it that drives Alexandra?
My team. Creating something new and useful together – that's my motivation. And when I see that other people can now see better thanks to our work.