Taking a Wide View of Vitreoretinal Surgery
OCULUS GmbH, developer of the original BIOM®, continues to build on its foundation of innovation and service by forming OCULUS Surgical, Inc.
For more than 100 years, OCULUS Optikgeräte GmbH has designed and manufactured ophthalmic instruments. Twenty-five years ago, the company, in cooperation with Manfred Spitznas, MD, developed and introduced the SDI®/BIOM®, the world’s first non-contact wide angle viewing system. Today, OCULUS GmbH and its subsidiary, OCULUS Surgical, are continuing this tradition of innovation with the launch of the BIOM® ready, the industry’s first single-use wide angle viewing system.
The BIOM® ready incorporates the OCULUS BIOM® HD Disposable Lens, offering unparalleled clarity for viewing the mid-vitreous and periphery, even under air or high magnification, while providing superb depth of field.
Rainer Kirchhübel, CEO of OCULUS Optikgeräte GmbH, explains, “OCULUS has a strong heritage of leading new advances in the non-contact wide angle viewing segment. Our latest advancement, the BIOM® ready, will provide retina surgeons with an uncompromised surgical view, while maximizing operating room efficiency.”
Virgilio Morales-Canton, MD, of the Asociación para Evitar la Cegeura en México in Mexico City is an early user of the BIOM® ready.
The OCULUS BIOM® ready is the industry’s first single-use wide angle viewing system.
“The BIOM® ready wide angle viewing system facilitates all vitreoretinal surgical procedures. It offers a very clear visualization of the fundus in almost all situations – phakic, pseudophakic and aphakic.” He says he prefers to use non-contact systems such as the BIOM® ready for vitrectomy. “With a non-contact system, there’s less down time during vitrectomy. In addition, when one uses a contact lens system, bubbles of air almost always interfere during the vitrectomy. Thus, the image obtained isn’t perfect.”
Dr. Morales-Canton appreciates the economy, ease of use and optics of the OCULUS BIOM® HD Disposable Lens. “It offers crisp, clear images, and there are no ‘water marks’ that can occur with sterilization of reusable lenses. This is a real benefit because it helps us obtain the best image possible.”
For the past 6 months, Maria H. Berrocal, MD, Director of Berrocal and Associates in San Juan, Puerto Rico, has been using the BIOM® ready and welcomes the incorporation of the disposable high-definition lenses.
“I’ve always preferred glass lenses, but there are problems with sterilization, including inevitable scratches that affect their clarity and increased turnover time between cases,” explains Dr. Berrocal. “The BIOM® ready with HD lenses provides an excellent alternative, particularly during busy OR days when I’m performing many vitrectomies. The BIOM® ready has eliminated the wait time for sterilization, and its quick focus with HD lenses expedites procedures.”
The depth and clarity of the BIOM® ready’s wide view are beneficial in Dr. Berrocal’s work as well. “The resolution and depth perception are comparable to the HD glass lenses I’ve utilized for the past 6 years,” she says. “It’s ideal for diabetic cases in which a wide field view is necessary and a high-resolution view of membranes is imperative as well. Cases that will benefit from this technology include retinal detachments, giant tears and detachments with proliferative vitreoretinopathy.”
John W. Kitchens, MD, a vitreoretinal surgeon with Retina Associates of Kentucky in Lexington, particularly values the BIOM® ready’s depth of field.
“The BIOM® ready with the BIOM® HD Disposable Lens provides depth perception not seen before with wide angle viewing. It eliminates the lost depth of field that normally accompanies the wide view, giving us more of a 3D feel during surgery,” he explains. “As a result, we’ve transitioned to using the BIOM® HD disposable lenses, even for macular work. It’s been nothing short of remarkable, particularly for diabetic cases and macular membrane peeling.”
“The BIOM® ready is unique,” according to Ron Gilliland, CEO of OCULUS Surgical, Inc. “It combines capital equipment with an economical, single-use product without any compromise in surgical performance, providing tremendous value to surgical facilities. It’s the next step in the OCULUS evolution — from inventing non-contact wide angle viewing, to elevating the technology, to meeting the ever-higher standards of performance and demands of vitreoretinal surgeons.”
A History of Ophthalmic Innovation
OCULUS Optikgeräte GmbH, with headquarters in Wetzlar, Germany, began its long history of partnering with ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians world-wide more than 100 years ago. Today, the company has 270 employees working in Wetzlar, 172 of whom are in research and development or production and service, creating and supporting sophisticated technology-based instruments used around the world.
As OCULUS GmbH has grown into a large global company with a wide range of diagnostic products, it has maintained its proud roots and values as a family-run business. The result is innovation, strong relationships with customers and the highest level of customer service.
According to the OCULUS GmbH model, the development of complex instruments calls for early and continuous interaction amongst surgeons, their OR and surgical staffs and the company’s research and development engineers and production facilities. This close partnership has produced eyecare innovations such as the SDI®/BIOM® Wide angle Viewing System, which forever changed how retina surgeons view vitreoretinal surgery. The BIOM® allows surgeons to see from the macula to the periphery without contacting the surface of the eye as they would with a cumbersome contact lens system.
The OCULUS BIOM® HD Disposable Lens combines a 130º wide angle field of view with high-definition clarity
Dr. Kitchens explains the impact of the OCULUS BIOM®. “The BIOM® revolutionized wide angle viewing and the way we perform surgery. Before the BIOM® was introduced, we could only get a wide angle view with a contact lens system that was very fickle and hard to keep in place. Today, I’d say virtually all retina surgeons use wide angle viewing because of the BIOM’s impact.” He continues, “It enables us to perform vitreoretinal surgery more safely and thoroughly. For example, in core vitrectomy, the BIOM® allows us to better visualize the peripheral vitreous, better establish where we are in the eye, and more thoroughly remove vitreous. We can visualize a retinal detachment more thoroughly and see traction effects on the peripheral retina. All of these advantages make surgery safer and more effective.”
In April 2012, OCULUS GmbH established OCULUS Surgical, Inc. to market the SDI®/BIOM® system direct to the U.S. market and to develop and introduce new and innovative products for vitreoretinal surgery. Today, OCULUS Surgical is the sole source for the SDI®/BIOM® system in the U.S.
“OCULUS Surgical is building on the strong heritage of its parent company, providing ophthalmic surgeons with innovative, high-quality, ophthalmic products and the highest level of customer support,” says Rainer Kirchhübel. “Together with OCULUS Optikgeräte GmbH, OCULUS Surgical will continue to bring advancements in wide angle viewing to the ophthalmic surgical market, as well as innovative new tools for ophthalmic surgeons. It is helping us continue our positive partnerships with existing U.S. customers and expand our reach.”
With headquarters in Florida, OCULUS Surgical is ideally located to support new and existing customers throughout North and South America.
“We’ve brought together a strong management team with extensive experience working with leading retina specialists in the U.S. and around the world,” explains Mr. Gilliland. “Additionally, our experienced consultative sales force will ensure that we surpass our customers’ sales and service expectations.”
Len Kendrigan, Vice President of Sales & Marketing, comments, “With a full range of both reusable and disposable products in the BIOM® line, as well as a variety of options from manual to full electronic control, our sales team can customize to the surgeon and facility’s needs. Additionally, with several other support products for use with the BIOM®, OCULUS Surgical can provide ‘one-stop shopping’ for all their viewing needs.” He adds, “We’re excited to now offer our U.S. customers ‘direct’ pricing, resulting in significant savings. Having a U.S. subsidiary, we also can provide local repair service, quick turnaround and even a loaner program to ensure BIOM® equipment is always available for the surgeon’s needs.”
Long-term Service and Support
Like its parent company OCULUS GmbH, which has focused exclusively on eyecare practitioners for more than a century, Oculus Surgical is dedicated to the ophthalmic surgical industry.
The company’s range of advanced products is proof of that dedication. The forward-thinking management team at OCULUS Surgical has extensive experience working with global leaders in ophthalmology, and those relationships enable the company to develop new tools for today’s challenging surgical environment.
The OCULUS Surgical customer service program also reflects the company’s dedication to ophthalmic professionals. Familiar with both the challenging daily tasks that specialists encounter and the realities of running surgery centers, OCULUS Surgical’s sales force works one-on-one with customers, ensuring that practitioners and their staff members have the in-service training they need for the instrument’s effective, efficient operation.
“OCULUS Surgical’s focus is to bring to market excellent products for ophthalmic surgeons,” says Bob Zatarain, Vice President of Business Development at OCULUS Surgical. “That commitment is backed by a strong set of goals and values for customer service aimed at supporting surgeons and their staffs through a continuum of sales, installation, training, optimization, and ongoing service and collaboration.”
The latest-generation BIOM®5 can be mounted in a matter of seconds on ophthalmic surgical microscopes.
The direct sales force in the U.S. is highly trained to understand the surgical model and the support needs of surgeons and their staffs. The result is a strong network of ongoing connections with eyecare professionals that carries on long after a purchase is complete.
The most important element of that relationship, according to Mr. Zatarain, is optimizing customers’ investment.
“Surgeons are inundated with products. If a company doesn’t teach them to optimize the technology for the best outcomes and efficiencies, then they could be wasting capital investments,” he explains. “Our sales support guides customers through that optimization and provides follow up to ensure surgeons are getting all the benefits of their new equipment.”
Dr. Kitchens has experienced that service firsthand.
“I’ve known my OCULUS BIOM® salesperson for the last 12 years, and he’s always a phone call away,” he says. “The SDI/BIOM® is such a well-built system that we rarely need service or replacement, but when we need support, OCULUS Surgical is very responsive.”
Throughout Latin America and Canada, OCULUS Surgical has trained its distributor network to match its U.S. sales force, ensuring that the company fulfills customers’ sales and service expectations in every market.
“We’ve carefully chosen our distribution partners and trained them to build supportive relationships the same way our sales team does in the U.S. It’s a very different model than many customers have experienced from their distributors, and the feedback is great,” Mr. Zatarain says. “The distributors are actually excited to take this role, going beyond selling to engage in meaningful long-term support and product optimization. It’s a fulfilling process for everyone, and it’s one that ensures our customers get the best possible service and support.”
OCULUS Products and Innovations
All of the products from OCULUS Surgical are designed to contribute to the outcomes and efficient work of retina surgeons. The company’s flagship products are the Stereoscopic Diagonal Inverter (SDI®), Binocular Indirect Ophthalmomicroscope (BIOM®) and BIOM® Optic Sets.
• BIOM® ready – The world’s first single-use wide angle viewing system gives retina surgeons the same unparalleled view they’ve come to rely on for more than 25 years, addressing the need to maximize operating efficiency without compromising performance. The BIOM® ready incorporates the new BIOM® HD Disposable Lens for unparalleled visual clarity, excellent depth of field for better stereopsis, and HD clarity under high magnification. Surgeons experience full-field clarity for decreased scleral depressing during panretinal laser use, as well as an improved view during air/fluid exchanges.
• BIOM® 5 – This latest-generation BIOM® is the ideal complement to the SDI®. It can be mounted in a matter of seconds on all of the most commonly used microscopes and moved into the beam path when needed.
This non-contact observation ensures the lowest possible stress on the patient’s cornea and allows for unrestricted movement of the eyeball. Excellent fundus observation is possible, even in non-dilated pupils or where corneal scarring or cataracts are present, as well as with the use of vitreous substitutes. The system also frees the surgeon’s hands for bi-manual vitreous surgery.
In addition, the BIOM® 5 has a slim, open, lightweight design, creating more space for the surgeon’s hands and instruments, thus minimizing space consumption in the operating field and increasing accessibility for reprocessing.
The new reduction lenses for the BIOM® 5, coupled with different BIOM® lengths customized to the microscopes objective lens, are designed to optimize the view of the retina and the limbus without the need to refocus during extraocular phases of surgery. Selected materials of the BIOM® 5, including titanium, offer increased durability and excellent resistance to today’s rigorous and sometimes harsh sterilization methods.
Designed for continuity as well as performance, the BIOM® 5 system is compatible with most accessories of the previous models.
• SDI® 4 – The smallest SDI® ever manufactured, the SDI® 4 has an extremely flat design and ideal light transmission, making this inverter a valuable addition to virtually all ophthalmic microscopes. It can be integrated into many of today’s microscope foot pedals.
By combining the SDI® 4c and the BIOM® 5c, surgeons can experience intelligent automatic inversion activated by the position of the BIOM® 5c, as well as surgeon-controlled electronic focus.
• BIOM® Optic Sets – The first choice for most surgeons is the new OCULUS BIOM® HD Disposable Lens. The HD lens combines a 130° wide angle field of view with high-definition clarity, making it ideal for all stages of vitreoretinal surgery including macula viewing under high magnification. The innovative single-use design ensures a perfect view in every case while affording surgery centers the flexibility to increase efficiency and improve their processes. Surgeons get a large depth of focus and often don’t need to change to contact lenses during surgery for delicate macular work.
“This is the first HD disposable lens, and it offers excellent depth of field in a wide angle view,” says Dr. Kitchens. “I’m pleased that there’s an ‘HD’ disposable because we’ve been using disposables for years. A reusable is good, but it deteriorates with handling over time. Because we want a great view as we perform surgery on the most important tissue in the eye, which leaves no room for error, we choose a new, clear disposable lens every time.”
A Look at the Future
As the industry leader in non-contact wide angle viewing, OCULUS Surgical, Inc. continues to bring new products to market that aid vitreoretinal surgeons and their staff, while increasing O.R. efficiency. Mr. Gilliland states, “We are very pleased to be launching our first pharmaceutical (OTC) product, ImproVue® Ophthalmic Lubricant Drops for protecting and hydrating the external surface of the eye. This exciting new product will help surgeons protect and hydrate their patient’s cornea.”
“We are dedicated to the OCULUS history of partnering with surgeons to develop new products that advance vitreoretinal surgery and aid the vitreoretinal surgeon. Further, as healthcare costs continue to rise and come under increased scrutiny, OCULUS Surgical is focused on increasing O.R. efficiency through products specifically designed with efficiency in mind,” says Gilliland. “We will continue to explore and maximize collaborative partnerships with ophthalmic surgeons and industry that enable us to bring innovative products to market – products that support vitreoretinal surgeons in their own focus, the best possible care for their patients.”