Our focus this month is on Visioneering Technologies, Inc. (VTI), a company that has developed lens designs that feature novel multifocal optics and daily disposability. I recently had the pleasure to speak with Dr. Stephen Snowdy, president and CEO.
Dr. Snowdy, please tell us about your company in terms of its history and direction.
VTI was founded in 2008 in Alpharetta, GA by Dr. Richard A. Griffin, an optometrist, optical engineer, and aerospace engineer whose goal was to create an optical solution for presbyopia that better overcame some of the limitations of the products already in the market.
VTI started as a venture-backed company, and from 2008 to 2014, it developed and tested the optics and manufacturing processes for its lenses in presbyopia. Once we were satisfied that clinically we had the right design, we obtained U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for the NaturalVue Multifocal 1 Day lens in 2014.
VTI launched the product in a test market in 2015 and became a publicly traded company in 2017.
The optics of our lenses are well-geared toward presbyopia and toward treating the optical risk factors for myopic refractive error changes in children. The focus of the company continues to be presbyopia, although we also have spherical designs. We expect to launch toric lenses in 2018 and eventually a multifocal toric daily disposable lens. All of our products at this time are daily disposables.
We recently achieved our European CE Mark; with that, we will continue to expand internationally.
Tell us about any new products or new developments in which VTI is involved.
Our European CE Mark includes a specific indication for myopia progression control for NaturalVue Multifocal. We also recently published data in a peer-reviewed journal showing a 96% (0.82D) decrease on an annualized basis in refractive error changes observed in myopic children (Cooper et al, 2017).
Our unique toric lens design will require only two axes to cover most basic astigmatic patients, so there’s a dramatic reduction in SKUs. In addition, our multifocal design features a universal add in which the depth of focus in our center-distance lens is not created through a distinct add zone but through a virtual aperture induced by the visual cortex. When you combine that advantage with a toric lens design that uses only two axes to correct a wide range of astigmatic correction, the result is an in-office multifocal toric diagnostic set that is more practical. So, we’re pretty excited about that product. But to get there, we first need to finish development of the toric lens design.
Tell us your vision for the contact lens field in the short term (less than 5 years) and in the long term (20 years from now).
I think over the next five years, we’ll see a growing acceptance of optical abnormalities in the eye as being not just symptoms, but potential causes of pathologies. I believe that these abnormalities will be associated with physiological and anatomical problems in the eye rather than just manifestations of them.
Over the long-term, I believe that the industry will learn to use optics to help address some of the abnormalities. Today, we view visual and refractive problems as symptoms of something gone awry in the eye. The standard intervention is to prescribe the optic to provide clear vision. But I think that over the next few years, there will be a growing acceptance that the optics play a part in that pathology. Beyond five years, we’ll see an increase in using optics to affect, retard, or modify those pathologies. That’s where I hope the industry goes, and contact lenses can play a huge role. CLS
For references, please visit www.clspectrum.com/references and click on document #268.