This year has seen industry-defining innovation in the field of diagnostics and imaging across a range of start-ups and mid-weight companies. During conversations with ophthalmic professionals within the diagnostics and imaging space, I’ve noticed some revolutionary products that will improve outcomes for patients across the globe.
As the frequency of eye diseases increases with aging populations, the US market sees impressive annual growth. Whilst a few mid-weight challenger companies are making move to disrupt the market, I’ve got my eye on some impressive smaller start-ups too. I’m always intrigued by the impact medical device start-ups can have on the wider industry, as their fresh perspective and approach can reimagine processes, dramatically reduce costs and accelerate decision making.
Here I’ve highlighted five of the most impressive companies whose latest products are defining the next steps in the optics market.
Norlase is an emerging global ophthalmic medical device company, founded by Oliver Hvidt and Peter Skovgaard, developing next-generation laser solutions for the treatment of retina and glaucoma disease. Comprised of worldwide industry leaders and experts in ophthalmology, laser technology, medical device development and customer care, Norlase strives to deliver superior quality, research-led solutions to growing issues in the ophthalmic industry.
Their latest product innovation comes in the form of LEAF, an ultracompact laser photocoagulator with the ability to mount on to an existing slit lamp, permitting performance of laser therapy in any exam room with minimal set up. Alongside its unprecedented portability, flexibility and ease of use, LEAF is also an the first of its kind to integrate voice control laser parameters, ensuring focus remains solely on the patient throughout the treatment process.
Another innovator worth watching is ArcScan. Founded in 2007, their innovative and dynamic approach aims to globally advance and evolve medical imaging through use of intelligent, high-frequency ultrasound technology. Already, this has been proven to improve both diagnostic and surgical outcomes.
The latest innovation from ArcScan is their Insight® 100, which uses a Swept Beam Liquid Interface to improve image quality, ease of use and result reproducibility. The ArcScan Insight® 100 uses extremely high frequency ultrasound technology, via an intelligent anterior segment imaging system, to obtain high resolution images of the entire anterior segment of the eye within a few minutes. A function which is not otherwise possible with current optical technologies.
Julia Mobley, Marketing and Communications Manager at ArcScan, said:
Currently, no one else is doing ultrasound quite like ArcScan. The ArcScan Insight® 100 is the leading, very high frequency ultrasound (VHF-US) device that images the entire anterior segment of the eye, including behind the iris; areas that cannot be seen with even the newest models of optical technology. And because the system is not handheld, diagnostic measurements have never been this precise. The underwater, robotic transducer moves the ultrasound beam in a very controlled way that allows the best accuracy and repeatability in imaging.
This device is the best in class for screening and assisting ophthalmologists looking inside the eye better for cataract procedures, ICL sizing and surgery, and examining the cornea to better understand if patients are candidates for LASIK, just to name a few examples.
ArcScan’s clinical work provides AI in our image processing to not only provide data and measurements, but also provide insights to the ophthalmologists that they may not get from other devices.
The quality and depth of imaging that ArcScan’s Insight® 100 provides enables high value surgical planning and treatment which was not previously possible, and after their recent $11.15 million investment from Shanghai Haohai Biological Technology continues planning expansion across China and internationally.
Dr. Greg Parkhurst of Parkhurst NuVision, ArcScan customer, said:
The Insight 100 is a no-brainer for ICL sizing. It is extremely comfortable and efficient for the patient. The images for mapping the corneal epithelium are best in class. I am able to not only have confidence that my sizing will be accurate, but in certain instances, I can even customize and target the ICL vault I want for certain anterior chamber and angle anatomies.
Beyeonics Surgical is a medical technology company developing surgeon centric visualisation solutions by leveraging cutting-edge imaging. Their head-mounted display technologies, which were originally developed for aerospace applications are forecast to forge the future of operation theatres.
Beyeonics One™ is a visualisation system developed from technology designed for fighter pilots for use in anterior and posterior segment surgery. This head mounted display gives the surgeon an immersive and undistracted focus on the surgical field.
So, how does it work? The camera head unit comprised of 3D ultra-high-resolution cameras, a stereoscopic illumination system, and removable mount for a non-contact wide-angle near-eye lens for use in posterior segment surgeries.
A powerful computing core supports both three head wearable display units, an internal touchscreen, and an external 4K monitor. All supporting zero perceived video latency. Whilst an ergonomic user interface combines operation of the footswitch with head gestures alone. Although the product is not yet commercially available, Beyeonics recent collaboration with BVI in the US to streamline the process and enable commercial viability is just around the corner.
When his five-year-old son was left blind after a regular eye exam failed to spot a retinal detachment, Douglas Anderson made it his life’s work to revolutionise retinal imaging, helping eye care professionals to excel in the process. Optos’ Silverstone is a patient-friendly device which captures a digital ultra-widefield image of the retina, enhancing pathology detection and disease management.
Silverstone is the most powerful tool yet for examining the retina, using ultra-widefield retinal imaging with integrated UWF-guided swept source OCT. This guided OCT scans across the retina and into the far periphery to produce a 200-degree single-capture optomap image in less than 0.5 seconds and is 50% more effective than the closest competitor.
Recently granted FDA clearance, the Oculus Myopia Master is the last on my latest innovative product watch list. Acknowledging the need for a solution to the progressive myopia trend, a disease which sees a noticeable increase over the past few years - fuelled by changing eye demands associated with Covid-19.
The Myopia Master offers one single, rapid, and contactless measurement system to aid early detection of myopia, enabling optometrists and ophthalmologists to position themselves at the forefront of the emerging myopia detection market, making management easier and more reliable than ever before.
As myopia prevalence sees exponential increase, most noticeable in children, adolescents, and young adults, it is increasingly important to ensure effective monitoring is made regularly available – ideally from age four. Thanks to its three-way measurement system, in-depth data analysis and easily digestible reports, the Myopia Master offers an innovative combination of refraction, axial length and keratometry to gain a full, in-depth understanding of the chances of myopia as early as possible.
It’s amazing to see how these companies play a part in this incredible industry progression, and I look forward to following their continued input towards the detection and prevention of life-altering optical diseases.
Interested in discussing these innovative products in some more depth? Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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