Cataracts are the most common age-related eye condition and leading cause of preventable blindness in adults 55 and older1
Basel, Switzerland, November 16, 2013– Alcon, the global leader in eye care and second-largest division of Novartis, is taking cataract surgery to a new level by launching the Cataract Refractive Suite by Alcon at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) annual meeting, held in New Orleans, LA.
The Cataract Refractive Suite by Alcon is comprised of multiple innovations and advanced technologies from Alcon’s extensive surgical device portfolio. The suite facilitates eye surgeons to better plan for, and perform, some of the most challenging steps of cataract surgery with automation and precision, while helping to meet the current unmet need of improving the refractive outcomes of cataract patients.
“Although cataract surgery is one of the most effective health interventions, resulting in more than 95% of the patients undergoing the procedure experiencing improved vision,2,3 a substantial number of patients experience visual acuity that is less than optimal,” said Paul Soye, Global Head R&D, Cataract Franchise, Alcon. “By launching our new Cataract Refractive Suite, Alcon is delivering the industry’s most advanced technologies designed to work together in the operating room, enabling eye surgeons the opportunity to provide significantly better refractive outcomes.”
Cataracts are the most common age-related eye condition and the leading cause of preventable blindness in adults 55 and older.1 As a cataract develops, the eye’s natural lens gradually becomes hard and cloudy, allowing less light to pass through, which makes it more difficult to see. If left untreated, cataracts eventually lead to blindness. Cataracts are treated by removing the eye’s cloudy natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL) during a surgical procedure.
Four Technologies Designed to Work Seamlessly to Improve Patient Outcomes The Cataract Refractive Suite by Alcon surrounds the surgeon with ‘best-in-class’ innovations, which are designed to assist eye surgeons to achieve refractive cataract surgical outcomes through improved surgical planning utilizing pre-operative diagnostic information and through improved execution of the cataract procedure steps:
The new VERION™ Image Guided System, comprised of the VERION™ Reference Unit and the VERION™ Digital Marker, is an advanced surgical planning, imaging and guidance technology designed to provide greater accuracy and efficiency during cataract surgery. It allows eye surgeons to capture a high-resolution, diagnostic reference image of the patient’s eye pre-operatively, quickly determine an optimized surgical plan that enables surgeons to see all incisions and alignment in real-time, and integrate the surgical plan into the operating room (OR) utilizing a tracking overlay.
The LenSx® Laser with the SoftFit™ Patient Interface allows eye surgeons to utilize the precision of a femtosecond laser to perform the most challenging manual steps of cataract surgery through an image-guided, reproducible laser treatment. This includes lens fragmentation, corneal incisions, and creating an opening within the eye so that the surgeon can access and remove the cloudy, natural lens (called a capsulotomy).
The new CENTURION® Vision System improves upon Alcon’s history of innovation in phacoemulsification technology, offering eye surgeons capabilities for cataract surgical removal and lens replacement. The system automatically and continuously adapts to changing conditions within the eye, provides anterior chamber stability during each step of the procedure, and places optimized energy technology into the surgeon’s hand-piece through Balanced Energy™ Technology.4
The family of LuxOR™ Surgical Microscopes provides superior visualization during cataract surgery by delivering greater depth of focus and improved red reflex stability through its proprietary ILLUMIN-i® technology.5 Additionally, it integrates with the VERION™ Image Guided System, allowing for overlays of key information needed by the eye surgeon to optimize the surgical procedure.
“When it’s time for cataract surgery, patients should know they have options and access to the most advanced technologies designed to improve their visual outcomes,” added Soye. “The Cataract Refractive Suite by Alcon offers micro-level precision, accuracy and predictability for cataract surgeons to deliver an excellent patient experience.”
The Cataract Refractive Suite by Alcon will be presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) congress, November 16-19, 2013 with a planned live surgery event on November 16, 2013. Alcon will begin offering the new Cataract Refractive Suite in those countries where regulatory approvals for each of the technologies have been secured.
Impact of Cataracts and Treatment Options Cataracts are the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide.2 Approximately 51%, or more than 18 million people, develop cataracts each year, and the only known treatment is surgical removal of the clouded lens. The World Health Organization estimates that by 2020, more than 32 million cataract surgeries will be performed worldwide on an annual basis.6
Early symptoms of cataracts include blurred vision and needing more light to read, even while wearing glasses. Other common symptoms include difficulty with glare, halos, double vision, difficulty with distance or near vision, and colors looking faded. As symptoms develop and worsen, cataracts may interfere with the ability to perform basic activities, such as driving and reading.
Cataracts are treated by removing the eye’s cloudy natural lens and replacing it with an intraocular lens (IOL). An IOL is a clear acrylic or plastic lens, which replaces the natural lens and is placed permanently within the eye. The lens is soft enough to be folded, so it can be placed into the eye through a very small incision.
There are three primary types of IOLs currently available: Monofocal IOLs have one point of focus for distance vision. Multifocal IOLs are more advanced; they provide two or more points of focus for near and distance vision, and are designed to reduce the need for reading glasses. Toric IOLs are also advanced technology lenses designed to correct pre-existing corneal astigmatism, a common condition in which the cornea is not perfectly round.
Facts and Myths about Cataracts and Cataract Surgery A recent Eye Health survey conducted by Alcon and AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) found that many people are misinformed when it comes to understanding cataracts and the cataract surgical procedure.
The following are a few of the common misconceptions about cataract surgery:
Myth: Cataract surgery is painful. Fact: Cataract surgery can be uncomfortable, but should not be painful. According to an Alcon-AARP survey, four out of five people reported that the surgery was easier than they had expected.
Myth: People are able to tell when they need cataract surgery. Fact: Before surgery, most people say cataracts do not interfere with their daily activities. But according to an Alcon-AARP survey, after the surgical procedure, 62% find they are enjoying life more.
Myth: Cataracts are unrelated to overall health. Fact: Cataracts are a known side effect of diabetes and high blood pressure.7
Myth:Spectacles are needed after cataract surgery. Fact: Not necessarily. Multifocal intraocular replacement lenses correct vision at various points, near and far, and can reduce the need for glasses.
Myth:People will not go blind if they wait to have cataract surgery. Fact: Cataracts normally take years to develop, but they can progress to the point a person can no longer see. Doctors prefer patients to schedule the operation before their lenses get hard, which makes them more difficult to break up and replace.
Disclaimer The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be identified by terminology such as “designed to,” “launching,” “will,” or similar expressions, or by express or implied discussions regarding potential products or regarding potential future revenues from the Cataract Refractive Suite by Alcon. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of management regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. There can be no guarantee that the Cataract Refractive Suite by Alcon, or any parts of it, will be approved for sale in any market or at any particular time. Nor can there be any guarantee that the Cataract Refractive Suite by Alcon will achieve any particular levels of revenue in the future. In particular, management’s expectations regarding the Cataract Refractive Suite by Alcon could be affected by, among other things, unexpected regulatory actions or delays or government regulation generally; unexpected clinical trial results, including unexpected new clinical data and unexpected additional analysis of existing clinical data; competition in general; government, industry and general public pricing pressures; unexpected manufacturing issues; the company’s ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection; the impact that the foregoing factors could have on the values attributed to the Novartis Group's assets and liabilities as recorded in the Group's consolidated balance sheet, and other risks and factors referred to in Novartis AG’s current Form 20-F on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Novartis is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
About Alcon Alcon, the global leader in eye care, provides innovative products that enhance quality of life by helping people worldwide see better. The three Alcon businesses - Surgical, Pharmaceutical and Vision Care - offer the widest spectrum of eye care products in the world. Alcon is the second largest division of the Novartis Group with pro-forma sales of USD 10.2 billion in 2012. Headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A., Alcon has more than 24,000 employees worldwide, operations in 75 countries and products available in 180 markets. For more information, visit www.alcon.com.
About Novartis Novartis provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis offers a diversified portfolio to best meet these needs: innovative medicines, eye care, cost-saving generic pharmaceuticals, preventive vaccines and diagnostic tools, over-the-counter and animal health products. Novartis is the only global company with leading positions in these areas. In 2012, the Group achieved net sales of USD 56.7 billion, while R&D throughout the Group amounted to approximately USD 9.3 billion (USD 9.1 billion excluding impairment and amortization charges). Novartis Group companies employ approximately 133,000 full-time-equivalent associates and operate in more than 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.