British Surgeon Lifts the Financial Lid on the Biggest Breakthrough in Eye Surgery

459With regular appearances in the world’s media launching some of the most advanced, ‘space-age’ technologies it’s hard to deny that Harley Street surgeon Bobby Qureshi has an ‘eye’ for business as well as being one the world’s leading eye surgeons. Most recently he’s made international headlines through joining forces with an award-winning Spanish physicist to utilise Hubble Telescope technology for the development of the most significant breakthrough in the treatment of the major cause of blindness of over 55s in the Western world; a debilitating disease called Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). It can also be used to restore vision to patients with diabetic maculopathy undergoing cataract surgery.

Globally, over 13 million cataract procedures are performed each year on patients who are suitable for an implant that can help alleviate their symptoms from AMD. This is growing at almost 4% annually and there are no currently accepted surgical solutions. Previous attempts at a solution required extensive incisions of up to 11mm carrying significant risks and have not been widely adopted. Bobby Qureshi and optical physicist Professor Pablo Artal’s revolutionary implant iolAMD ( is not just able to successfully treat millions of sufferers, but also light up the eyes of investors and financial markets internationally with potential returns circa $25 Billion.

According to Rob Hill, CEO of the London Eye Hospital Pharma , “There are very few recent precedents for a game changing technology like this in the world of ophthalmic surgery. One of the most recent was Intralase which brought to market a new way of cutting flaps in LASIK surgery. IntraLase sold for $808m in 2007, based on sales of only $131m. We are confident that with the reasonable unit price, the simplicity of the procedure and the size of the market, iolAMD will be making not just eye health but financial history.”

The new patented technology will help millions of sufferers in the early and middle stages of dry AMD (Age related Macular Degeneration), for whom until now there has never been an accepted treatment. Dry AMD affects 9 times more people than wet AMD. In dry AMD, there is a build-up of waste products in the retina which support the cells which give us vision.

Wet AMD on the other hand involves breakages in the retina as some blood vessels grow abnormally. Lucentis, which is an injection used to treat wet AMD is worth over $2.4bn annually to its owners Novartis one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. Wet AMD, however, only affects 10% of the world’s sufferers, leaving the market wide open to the new iolAMD implant.

The tiny iolAMD implant which has regulatory approval, and based on an approach by NASA to tackle fuzzy images from the Hubble telescope, can be inserted in just 2 minutes via a tiny incision (3mm) by any competent eye surgeon trained in cataract surgery. The training required is minimal. Another great benefit is that it can be done at the same time as cataract surgery, as 50% of the 23 million annual cataract patients already suffer a degree of AMD. The lens is effective in the treatment of dry AMD, established wet forms of AMD, and other macular disease including maculopathy (fats leaking into the retina) caused by diabetes.

Bobby Qureshi’s objective had been to find a simple and cost effective solution to the ever growing problem of age related blindness. He approached Professor Pablo Artal - the first-ever European winner of the prestigious Edward H Land Award for scientific contributions to the advancement of visual optics – with his quest. Bobby, who is the London Eye Hospital Pharma’s Chief Medical Officer, says;

“The idea just made common sense to me as an eye surgeon; I do these operations day in, day out but had been frustrated by not being able to successfully treat my patients.”

The current one off cost of the iolAMD surgery to patients is around £6,000 per eye which is actually equivalent to the annual cost of injections for wet AMD (which has been approved by health services around the world). London Eye Hospital Pharma hopes to make iolAMD accessible to patients on the NHS and through insurers.

“I’m just concerned about saving eyesight ” says Qureshi, “This technology isn’t just a step forward, it’s a giant leap towards restoring vision to millions of people around the world. I want to use all of the resources we have, including the proceeds from the sale of this exciting new technology, to fund the world’s biggest campaign to save eyesight. Millions of children around the world go blind unnecessarily due to entirely preventable conditions such as Trachoma – and I see it as my mission to eradicate this disease. Our pledge is to rectify that once and for all and any revenue created by iolAMD is sure to be a part of this promise to deliver.”

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