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The Farsightedness of Refractec

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

Presbyopia is causing a rapprochement between two distinct types of ophthalmic surgeons--the cataract surgeon implanting intraocular lenses in the elderly, and the refractive surgeon offering private-pay laser vision correction procedures to young adults. Bridging the gap is Refractec, the first company to ever get FDA approval for an ophthalmic surgery technology specifically for presbyopia. Refractec offers a non-cutting treatment that surgeons regard as a "starter treatment" that gets new kinds of patients into refractive surgery practices.

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NuLens Ltd.

Today, most of the accommodating and multifocal IOLs that address presbyopia share one thing in common: they are placed, as are the standard lenses used in routine cataract procedures, inside the capsular bag, a thin membrane surrounding the eye's natural lens. It's becoming increasingly apparent that over time, the capsular bag undergoes changes that compromise visual results. NuLens came up with the idea of not using the capsular bag as the housing for the accommodating lens.

Ophthalmology's Next Frontier

Millions of middle-aged and soon-to-be elderly people worldwide are running headlong into vision problems, and this looming patient pool is already beginning to steer the future course of physician practice and research and development dollars. The potential for huge rewards is certainly present for developers of safe, effective new therapies for disorders of the aging eye.

AMO & VISX: Number one in Refractive Surgery

Advanced Medical Optics, a specialist in ophthalmic surgery, has acquired Visx , the largest manufacture of lasers for vision correction surgery, for a combination of cash and stock worth $1.27 billion. Analysts were surprised by the magnitude of the deal, following so soon on the heels of AMO's $450 million purchase of the ophthalmic surgical business of Pfizer in April, which brought it products for the cataract and glaucoma markets. However, this is not simply the merger of two major ophthalmic companies for the purpose of achieving critical mass; the two companies operate in distinct, largely non-overlapping markets, and to all appearances fit together like hand in glove.

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