I recently did a project for reading my electricity meter.
The thing is an old ferrarismeter with a moving wheel that has a mirror strip on it's side and has a 1 cm black bit.
I started off , as many do with a tracking sensor
Now I understand that for many people who have a meter with a clear plastic casing where the rotating disc turns close to that casing this works perfectly fine.
For me it did absolutely nothing.. My rotating disc is quite small and located about 10 cm behind the casing. And my casing is tinted brown..
So i ditched the tracking sensor for an obstacle avoidance sensor which is basically the same thing but a bit more powerful.
That thing aged me by 10 years in a month. if positioned and tuned (took hours each time) just right it would work for about a day. I ended up making at least 10 casings , fixtures rests in plastic , puttyy , cardboard duct tape , etc etc.. the longest it lasted without crapping out was 3 days.
I tore off the whole thing and am now using an actual red laser emitter and a photoresistor on an analog input pin. ( this time on an arduino instead of straight on my raspberry pi's digital pin)
for the photo resistor I used a piece of rectangular dark plastic where I drilled a hole in , glued a small dice sized block of wood next to it and put the sensor on that. the laser shines on the wheel and the reflection is a bright line. The photo resistor on the analog pin reads about 200 when lit, about 600 when the laser goes over the dark spot.
I also had to tape over the transparent parts of the meter because the thing sits close to the garage door. When the garage opened sunlight would interfere. Which did not happen for the IR sensor though.. Still . The laser saved my life. It's way more robust than using an IR sensor/receiver.
Without knowing the details of your project this is the best reply I can give that's related.