The probability of developing cataracts at some point in life is high: about 50 percent of over 70-year-olds have blurry vision. "Cataracts can be treated surgically though," explains Philipp, who is partly responsible for the latest generation of the precision technology used by surgeons to operate cataracts in the future.
Originally, I was hired as a development engineer, but now I'm involved in a wide variety of areas and really have a lot of creative freedom.
Philipp just turned 30, and a few months ago he was there to see the surgery system he helped develop in action – used on a patient. "This moment was worth all the work over the past months and years," he explains. The surgeons and team, he says, are still very euphoric.
"Originally, I was hired as a development engineer, but now I'm involved in a wide variety of areas and really have a lot of creative freedom," he says. Philipp has been with ZEISS for four years now – a short time with a steep development curve, especially considering that he did not initially have medical technology in mind. Philipp studied mechanical engineering with a focus on automotive engineering. Medical technology enthralled him when he was present at an operation as part of a lecture entitled "Brain and central nervous system".
"Back then, I was so impressed by the performance that was possible through the perfect interaction between surgeons and the technical system." The surgical microscope the surgeon used was a ZEISS microscope. Less than five days later, his unsolicited application was en route to Oberkochen. Since then, Philipp has worked at ZEISS in Surgical Ophthalmology where solutions for the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases are developed. The challenge that he and the team have been dealing with for the past four years: patient safety. To treat cataracts, surgeons must remove the natural lens of the eye and replace it with an artificial intraocular lens. The natural lens is removed using ultrasound and the resulting particles are suctioned out. The latter is done with a hand piece guided by the surgeon.
"Speeds of up to 20 meters per second are generated in the tip of the hand piece," explains Philipp. These technical energies need to be controlled in such a sensitive environment as the human eye. "This is the challenge that I enjoy and that never ends. For especially in medical technology, every advance, no matter how small, benefits people," says Philipp. And while surgeons are now able to remove the cloudy lenses even more safely with this new, even more precise ZEISS technology, Philipp is already pondering what operative aspects could continue to be developed.
As IP owner, he generally keeps track of the patent landscape for various products and, as a systems engineer, bears the technical responsibility for them – right from the very first idea. As a senior in the ZEISS technical career path, Philipp also helps define the innovation fields of the future. This is where the technical ladder comes into play – it offers a five-stage alternative to the traditional management career.
The diverse responsibilities are just important to Philipp in his job. But that's not all: "What has fascinated me from the beginning about ZEISS is that everyone is striving towards the same goal – together. This is what ZEISS is all about and this cannot be replaced by anything."