July 15, 2008 -- STAAR Surgical Company (NASDAQ:STAA) says its Visian ICL (Implantable Collamer Lens), a tiny, flexible lens implanted in the eye to correct refractive errors, continues to gain momentum. According to STAAR, U.S. sales of the Visian ICL grew 38% over the prior year period. Company president and CEO Barry G. Caldwell said, "We believe that part of the reason why the Visian ICL sales momentum in the U.S. is building has been the recent recommendation by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration Ophthalmic Device Panel to make clearer the risks associated with LASIK procedures. The recent media attention to the complications of LASIK as reviewed by the Panel has led to more patients asking more questions about the procedure and more seriously considering alternative procedures like the Visian ICL."
STAAR recently initiated a program to gain market visibility through key opinion leaders among refractive surgeons, as well, and reports that consumer visits to its web site have more than doubled during the Q2 -- which prompted the company to make the site more consumer friendly and informative..
The Visian ICL is inserted into the eye during a short out-patient surgical procedure which can be performed in a surgeon's office. Insertion requires an incision size about the size of the opening on a ballpoint pen versus an incision size of over one inch required for LASIK in order to create the flap opening in the eye. This flap created for LASIK may take as long as 24 months to seal back into place in contrast to the quick healing process of the very small Visian ICL incision. While LASIK or PRK procedures permanently change the shape of the eye by using a laser to remove tissue, the Visian ICL does not require any removal of tissue. Though designed to remain permanently in the eye, it can be removed or replaced.
Visian ICL patients reported a greater than 99 percent satisfaction rate in a five- year follow-up of participants in a clinical study submitted to the FDA, according to STARR Surgical.
Recently, Researchers at the University of Washington were able to successfully embed optoelectronic devices into a biocompatible contact lens.
Second quarter U.S. ICL sales are based on preliminary quarterly financial data, which may be subject to change when complete results are announced.