ALISO VIEJO, Calif., May 10, 2005 /PRNewswire/ --
Eyeonics, inc. today announced that the Crystalens(TM) procedure can
now be privately purchased by Medicare beneficiaries. Crystalens is
the first and only FDA-approved naturally focusing (accommodating) vision-correction
lens replacement for adults with cataracts and presbyopia.
Crystalens is the most advanced intraocular lens
(IOL) currently available, yet the previous Medicare reimbursement policy
did not allow its beneficiaries to opt for this advanced technology
for cataract surgery. Culminating a five-year effort, Eyeonics led the
way in affecting this policy change, working with U.S. Congressman Christopher
Cox (Newport Beach, Calif.), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services,
physicians and ophthalmic industry leaders.
"More than 2.2 million cataract surgeries are performed
each year on patients age 65 and over," said J. Andy Corley, co-founder,
chairman and CEO of Eyeonics. "Yet as vision technologies advanced,
Medicare reimbursement did not keep pace."
"This policy change means that patients will have
the right to choose a vision correction technology that best meets their
lifestyle and visual demands. It also gives doctors the freedom to offer
innovative technologies such as the Crystalens for their Medicare patients,"
said ophthalmologist Steven J. Dell, MD, of the Texan Eye Care in Austin,
Seniors on Medicare now can choose the presbyopia-correcting
Crystalens, which focuses and moves in the eye like the natural lens
thanks to its proprietary accommodating characteristics. The
is designed to treat two conditions: cataract removal with lens replacement
(a procedure covered by Medicare) and presbyopia (a non-covered service).
Patients who select Crystalens will receive the standard Medicare reimbursement
for cataract surgery, and can now pay privately for the presbyopic portion
of the treatment.
Presbyopia is an inevitable age-related eye condition
that makes it difficult to read or see objects up-close without the
use of reading glasses. Presbyopia is the first sign of a cataract and
is the most prevalent eye condition in America. It causes the crystalline
lens to increasingly stiffen, lose flexibility and cloud, diminishing
its focusing ability.
Crystalens corrects vision at all distances and
in most cases eliminates the need for glasses and contacts for everyday
tasks. Its ability to focus at all distances frees most patients from
the need for glasses following cataract surgery. In clinical trials,
nearly three-times the number of patients (85 percent) who received
the Crystalens could see at all distances compared to a standard IOL.
"This ruling greatly expands the market opportunity
for Crystalens now that doctors can offer a presbyopic treatment to
their Medicare patients with cataracts," said Corley. "This policy change
would not have been possible without the support and efforts of Congressman
Cox. Medicare beneficiaries now have the same access to this new technology
that was previously available only to non-Medicare patients."
The Crystalens is the result of more than 14 years
of research and development by J. Stuart Cumming, M.D., F.A.C.S., and
was approved by the FDA in November 2003. More than 24,000 lenses have
been implanted worldwide to date. During clinical trials, all of the
patients who received the Crystalens greatly reduced their need for
corrective lenses or eyeglasses. The patented Crystalens technology
is designed to allow the lens to move in the eye in a manner similar
to the natural lens. By using the eye's muscle to move the lens back
and forwards naturally, patients can focus through a continuous range
of vision including near, far and everywhere in between. All other intraocular
lenses are designed to remain fixed in the eye. For more information
about the Crystalens go to www.Crystalens.com.
About Eyeonics Inc.
Eyeonics is a privately held medical device company
headquartered in Aliso Viejo, Calif., founded in 1998. Eyeonics is committed
to developing a new class of visual enhancement systems that will enable
patients to see up close, far away and all distances in between. For
more information about Eyeonics, inc., go to www.Eyeonics.com.
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Medicare policy changes for presbyopic