STAAR Surgical exceeds 200,000 Visian ICL global implants

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STAAR Surgical Company (Nasdaq: STAA), a leading developer, manufacturer and marketer of minimally invasive ophthalmic products, today announced that the worldwide total number of Visian® ICL implants in patients has exceeded 200,000.  Since 1994, STAAR's Implantable Collamer® Lenses (ICLs) have been used in refractive eye surgery as an alternative to LASIK.  Manufactured with STAAR's proprietary Collamer material, Visian ICLs provide a safe and effective alternative in the permanent correction of myopia, hyperopia, and in the case of the Toric ICL, astigmatism.

"This milestone demonstrates that STAAR's ICL technology continues to transform the refractive market with increased share in the global surgical market," said Barry G. Caldwell, president and CEO of STAAR Surgical. "During the last half of 2010 we began shipping the new expanded version of the Vision ICL in countries that accept CE Mark Certification.  During 2010 Visian ICL sales increased by 15%, while the LASIK segment continues to be challenged.  We are most proud of the high level of patient satisfaction delivered by STAAR's technology for placing correction in the posterior segment, which avoids problems experienced with anterior segment phakic lenses.  Of the over 200,000 ICLs implanted over the past 17 years, over 14,000 of those have been in eyes for over 10 years.  The overall safety and patient satisfaction data is very encouraging and differentiates the Visian product line from other refractive surgical options," Mr. Caldwell concluded.

The Company is focused on driving awareness of the benefits of its Visian ICL over LASIK surgery.  In the fall of 2010, STAAR initiated a direct-to-consumer marketing campaign that includes a series of seven videos that describe the features of its ICL in a funny, easily accessible manner.  STAAR, in conjunction with ophthalmologists, is rolling out these videos around the world.  In South Korea, where the ICL has captured over 10% of the refractive surgery market, STAAR's distributor has invested in a direct-to-consumer educational video which will be shown with pre-movie trailers during the first quarter.

"During 2011, it is important that we continue to make progress toward regulatory approval for the Visian Toric ICL in the United States and Japan," continued Mr. Caldwell.  "The market in Japan offers a very large opportunity for the ICL technology, particularly given the high percentage of the population who experience myopia and astigmatism.  With the Japan market for the ICL available the entire year, we expect our growth rates in 2011 to exceed our level in 2010."

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