LensAR, Inc., the leading developer of next generation laser technology for cataract surgery and presbyopia, today announced the issuance of United States patent 7,655,002. This patent addresses methods for using laser technology to increase the flexibility of the ocular lens in order to both restore accommodation in presbyopia patients and allow easier removal of hardened lenses in cataract patients. LensAR believes that this novel intellectual property will provide the company with proprietary advantages for its LensAR Laser System™ in cataract surgery and the treatment of presbyopia. The issued patent is based on the groundbreaking work of the inventor Raymond I. Myers, O.D., clinical professor at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, and was in-licensed exclusively by LensAR at the time of the company's formation in 2004.
"Intellectual property is the foundation of LensAR. We believe this issued patent will be the first of many in the area of laser treatment of the ocular lens," stated Randy Frey, LensAR's founder and chief executive officer. "While we appreciate that a significant amount of development work, along with FDA approval is still required to bring our LensAR Laser System to the market, we are fully committed to realizing our goal of ultimately enabling such valuable indications as capsulotomy, fragmentation, astigmatic and other corneal incisions for cataract surgery, as well as presbyopia treatment, all within one proprietary laser platform."
LensAR is particularly excited about the potential impact of this newly issued patent on the company's innovative work in the treatment of presbyopia, a condition caused by the hardening of the natural crystalline lens of the eye with age. Prior to approximately 40 years of age, the human lens is able to alter its shape to allow movement of sharp focus from very near to far distant vision. However, with aging, this flexibility is lost and near vision becomes impaired. To address the issue of presbyopia, LensAR is investigating the use of laser technology to increase the flexibility of the natural crystalline lens, potentially allowing patients to regain control of their lens shape, a process known as accommodation. LensAR is the only company in the world to be clinically evaluating laser treatment of the crystalline lens for presbyopia in human subjects. An initial feasibility study, conducted under local health authority and ethics committee approved protocols in Mexico City, Mexico and Manila, Philippines is currently underway.
"This new patent is a major step forward for LensAR in the field of all laser cataract and refractive technology," stated Ronald Krueger, M.D., medical director, Department of Refractive Surgery, Cole Eye Institute and professor of ophthalmology, Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland, OH. He is also a cofounder of LensAR. "It is important to note that the LensAR system was initially designed to correct presbyopia and early clinical data established that it not only softened the lens but also showed the potential to restore its natural flexibility and accommodative power."
LensAR has over 30 pending patent applications in the field of laser treatment of the crystalline lens for presbyopia and for cataract surgery. The company is vigorously pursuing continuation applications for its intellectual property and believes it may obtain broader and more varied claims beyond today's issued patent from this original 1996 disclosure and more recent patent applications.
LensAR's research in laser treatment of the lens dates back to 2004 and includes hundreds of cultured crystalline lenses leading to primate studies at the University of Wisconsin in 2007 which established the safety profile that enabled the initiation of human clinical trials. This early work helped validate and advance the proprietary measurement guided beam delivery technology that LensAR is currently using in its human clinical trials for cataract surgery and presbyopia.