A high percentage of the population develop at their elderly stage a cataract, i.e. the crystalline lenses of their eyes turn grey and need to be removed in order to prevent blindness. After 1948 a new method to compensate the loss of refractive power of the eye after cataract extraction became available: intraocular lenses (IOLs) placed surgically into the eye and made of a rigid optical part (from polymethylmethacrylate) and a flexible haptic part. Driven by an increasing number of small enterprises (SMEs) this market gradually developed over the following 40 years. Around 1990 a new micro-invasive surgical technology for cataract extraction became available, requiring only about 3 mm incision: phako-emulsification. This caused the development of IOLs whose 6 mm diameter optics can be folded and inserted through a 3 mm opening of the eye. In the years to follow the IOL market in the US, Western Europe and Japan reached maturity, i.e. the annual increase in surgeries became smaller, prices for IOLs decayed and US based multi-national companies emerged by purchasing more and more SMEs. Currently we are at the threshold of a new surgical technology allowing cataract removal through < 1,5 mm incisions. This will drive a demand for a new generation of rollable IOLs with extremely thin optics, requiring elastic materials with refractive index far beyond what has been achieved so far. CORONIS GmbH has invented a method to create such ultra-high refractive index composite materials. The development of these materials and the technology to manufacture IOLs out of them, as well as the required surgical instruments for their implantation into the eye are the subject of the MIRO project proposal. The success of this project will provide means of less traumatic surgery for millions of people, give a long-term competitive advantage to the members of the consortium, secure existing and create new working places and generate a long-term global licence income.
Fields of science
Funding SchemeCooperative - SMEs-Co-operative research contracts