Recent Moves Show How Zeiss Is Positioning Itself for a New Era in Ophthalmology
Carl Zeiss Meditec has made a series of strategic moves in recent weeks in glaucoma, retina, cataract, and refractive, along with reaching a milestone on its medical technology unit’s new US headquarters, all of which aim to increase the company’s footprint both technologically and physically.
Moves in Glaucoma, Retina
In June the company expanded its position in glaucoma treatment by becoming a shareholder of MicroOptx, a privately held Minneapolis-based company that focuses on innovative minimally invasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS) devices. The technology is designed to reduce intraocular pressure with one surgical procedure to insert a device that shunts aqueous humor from the anterior chamber to the surface of the eye.
In retina, in July the Food and Drug Administration granted approval for the CLARUS 700, high-resolution ultra-widefield camera with angiography. Zeiss claims CLARUS 700 is the first device to combine ultra-widefield imaging, excellent image quality, and a full range of fundus imaging modalities, including fundus angiography.
It’s designed so image color closely approximates the retina’s natural coloration as viewed through direct observation. The goal is to allow retina specialists to visualize changes with high-resolution details from the posterior pole to the periphery.
Cataract and Refractive
At the annual meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery in May, Zeiss showcased the ARTEVO 800, the first digital microscope in ophthalmic surgery. ARTEVO 800 comes with a new feature called “DigitalOptics” integrated 4K 3D visualization technology, which, Zeiss says, provides unmatched depth of field, drastically reduced light intensity requirements, and real-color impression for increased certainty. It also provides digital assistance and brings critical real-time data (such as optical coherence tomography images or phaco vitrectomy values) into the view of the surgeon in real time. ARTEVO 800 comes with cloud connectivity to the Zeiss Cataract Suite, allowing surgeons to access patient data remotely.
Zeiss also announced that more than 2 million Small Incision Lenticule Extraction (SMILE) treatments have been completed. SMILE is the company’s minimally invasive corneal refractive procedure, performed using the VisuMax femtosecond laser to create a thin disc-shaped lenticule within the cornea, which is then removed through a small incision, thereby achieving the desired vision correction. More than 1,000 VisuMax devices have been distributed, and SMILE is being used by more than 1,800 surgeons in over 70 countries. In addition to completing more than 400 peer-reviewed articles on SMILE, the company has begun a SMILE clinical trial in hyperopic patients outside the US.
Most recently, Zeiss has marked a milestone for its new high-tech site in Dublin, CA, with the completion of the “steel topping out” phase of construction. Dublin, which is in the San Francisco Bay Area, will serve as the US headquarters for Zeiss Medical Technology. Zeiss Industrial Quality & Research and Zeiss Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology will also be located at the site. The facility will feature customer experience centers for medical technology and microscopy, along with digital training rooms for employees and customers.
“The recent announcements exemplify a new era in ophthalmology, demonstrating our commitment to find new ways to support customers, every step of the way,” said James V. Mazzo, global president ophthalmic devices at Carl Zeiss Meditec. “We will continue driving digitalization and technological progress bringing new solutions to the market faster, making continuous innovation real, with tangible results.”
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