June 19, 2017
The No. 1 unmet need in cataract surgery today is a safe and effective method to prevent posterior capsular opacity. Our inability to conquer the biology of the lens capsule and subcapsular epithelium after cataract surgery, which includes epithelial cell proliferation, fibrous metaplasia of cells resulting in capsular haze/fibrosis and secondary capsular contraction, is not only a cause of significant vision loss for our patients but also a major barrier to the development of a functional accommodating IOL. Amazing to me, no major strategic has focused significant resources on solving this problem.
In the U.S., Medicare statistics suggest that the incidence per year of YAG laser capsulotomy is about 25% the incidence of cataract surgery. We do 4 million cataract surgeries a year in the U.S. and just under 1 million YAG laser capsulotomies. That generates a cost of about $400 million to our medical system, not including the costs of time off for patients, family and caregivers. And while YAG laser capsulotomy is certainly a straightforward procedure, it is not totally without complications, and it definitely places a significant burden on patients, families and third-party payers.