Santinelli and NIDEK mark the longest continuous lens finishing equipment distributorship in the U.S.

This year, Santinelli International and NIDEK Co., Ltd. are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their collaboration that helped revolutionize the way lenses are processed in the U.S. They did so with the introduction of high-tech equipment innovations to eyecare professionals in 1991.

Santinelli International was founded by Joseph Santinelli, who apprenticed under his uncle, Arthur LeMay, in his lens finishing business. Together, they introduced the first diamond bevel edger. In 1973, Mr. Santinelli ventured out on his own and founded Santinelli International. Years later, his son,
Gerard Santinelli joined the company and eventually became president and CEO, a position that he still holds.

By 1990, NIDEK was already an established worldwide ophthalmic equipment manufacturer. That year, NIDEK entered the lens edger business with the development of an innovative patternless edger, the LE-8000. Santinelli International recognized NIDEK’s technology potential for the U.S. market, made contact with the company’s founder and president, Hideo Ozawa, and soon had an agreement for exclusive U.S. distribution. In 1991, the LE-8000, was introduced into the U.S. by Santinelli International, and a perfect alliance between the two companies began.

There have been many successful innovations since then. In 1993, the LE-7070 was introduced and soon became the number one lens edger in the U.S. In 2004, robotic handling was launched with the RHU-1000. In 2010, the revolutionary ME-1200 Multifunction Lens Edger won the coveted SILMO d’Or award. This month, the LE-1200 was introduced, featuring multi-frame tracing and faster processing.

After a quarter century, it’s clear that the Santinelli/NIDEK relationship has been a huge success. If the next 25 years are equally successful for this duo, their impact will continue influencing eye-care in this country.

Kim Pickett, COMT, is a certified ophthalmic medical technologist and ophthalmic writer in Minneapolis, MN.


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