By Lindsay Lennox | University of Colorado Technology Transfer Office
AURORA, Colo. – A new device designed to perform safer, more effective cataract surgery is going on the market following a licensing agreement between the University of Colorado and Mile High Ophthalmics LLC.
Cataracts, clouding of the lens inside the eye, are the most common cause of impaired vision worldwide. In the U.S. alone, cataracts impact over 24 million adults over age 40, with this number expected to double by 2020. By age 80, more than half of all Americans will have cataracts with direct medical treatment costs estimated at $6.8 billion per year.
Mild cataracts can be treated with bright lighting, glasses or other devices but ultimately surgery is required to replace the clouded lens with an artificial implant. As part of this procedure, surgeons must manually remove a circular part of the capsule surrounding the lens. These are challenging techniques that can lead to a range of complications from difficulty in actually removing the lens and replacing it with an artificial one to infections and even retinal detachment. Both of the latter could lead to blindness.
But now a research group led by Malik Kahook, MD, (above) of the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus (Department of Ophthalmology), has developed a ring-shaped device to enhance the surgeon’s ability to complete a perfectly round and centered opening in the capsule during cataract surgery. The ring is micro-patterned to help it adhere to the capsule and remain in place during the surgery.
“There have been many attempts over the past few decades to make the opening of the anterior capsule safer and more reproducible by cataract surgeons of all skill sets and training levels,” said Kahook, who holds the Slater Family Chair in Ophthalmology at the CU School of Medicine. “Past devices have included very expensive lasers or devices that failed to provide the needed outcomes. The VERUS device is cost effective and can be seamlessly incorporated into standard cataract surgery without adding extensive time or a long learning curve. The resulting opening of the capsule when using the VERUS device is round and centered as desired by the surgeon, and promises to enhance outcomes and improve safety.”
Mile High Ophthalmics CEO James Dennewill said he looks forward to launching the device next month.
“We are excited to be working with the team at the University of Colorado to give surgeons and patients access to some of the great ideas they’ve been working on in their labs,” he said. “We are launching our first device, the VERUS™ Capsulorhexis Device, in February 2015 with the hopes of improving the visual outcomes of cataract surgery patients by optimizing the capsulotomy part of the procedure and pricing the device in such a way that all patients and surgeons have access to it.”
About Mile High Ophthalmics
Mile High Ophthalmics, LLC is a medical device company focused on devices that improve the outcomes of ophthalmic surgery and access to those outcomes. The company’s initial product is the VERUS™ Capsulorhexis Device, which helps create a round, centered capsulorhexis to optimize results from cataract surgery with artificial lens implantation. The quality of the capsulorhexis has been proven to affect visual outcomes during and after cataract surgery. Mile High Ophthalmics is the first portfolio company of Kaman Ventures, Inc., a medical device accelerator that helps bring innovative products to market quickly and efficiently. www.milehighophthalmics.com.
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