New Medicare policy allows seniors access to Crystalens™


Eyeonics Inc.-led effort results in expanded reimbursement policy for presbyopia-correcting IOLs

ALISO VIEJO, Calif., May 10, 2005 -- Eyeonics, Inc. today announced that the crystalensTM procedure can now be privately purchased by Medicare beneficiaries. Crystalens is the first and only FDA-approved naturally focusing (accommodating) vision-correction lens replacement for adults with cataracts and presbyopia.

Crystalens is the most advanced intraocular lens (IOL) currently available, yet the previous Medicare reimbursement policy did not allow its beneficiaries to opt for this advanced technology for cataract surgery. Culminating a five-year effort, Eyeonics led the way in affecting this policy change, working with U.S. Congressman Christopher Cox (Newport Beach, Calif.), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, physicians and ophthalmic industry leaders.

"More than 2.2 million cataract surgeries are performed each year on patients age 65 and over," said J. Andy Corley, co-founder, chairman and CEO of eyeonics. "Yet as vision technologies advanced, Medicare reimbursement did not keep pace."

"This policy change means that patients will have the right to choose a vision correction technology that best meets their lifestyle and visual demands. It also gives doctors the freedom to offer innovative technologies such as the crystalens for their Medicare patients," said ophthalmologist Steven J. Dell, MD, of the Texan Eye Care in Austin, Texas.

Seniors on Medicare now can choose the presbyopia-correcting crystalens, which focuses and moves in the eye like the natural lens thanks to its proprietary accommodating characteristics. The crystalens is designed to treat two conditions: cataract removal with lens replacement (a procedure covered by Medicare) and presbyopia (a non-covered service). Patients who select crystalens will receive the standard Medicare reimbursement for cataract surgery, and can now pay privately for the presbyopic portion of the treatment.

Presbyopia is an inevitable age-related eye condition that makes it difficult to read or see objects up-close without the use of reading glasses. Presbyopia is the first sign of a cataract and is the most prevalent eye condition in America. It causes the crystalline lens to increasingly stiffen, lose flexibility and cloud, diminishing its focusing ability.

Crystalens corrects vision at all distances and in most cases eliminates the need for glasses and contacts for everyday tasks. Its ability to focus at all distances frees most patients from the need for glasses following cataract surgery. In clinical trials, nearly three-times the number of patients (85 percent) who received the crystalens could see at all distances compared to a standard IOL.

"This ruling greatly expands the market opportunity for crystalens now that doctors can offer a presbyopic treatment to their Medicare patients with cataracts," said Corley. "This policy change would not have been possible without the support and efforts of Congressman Cox. Medicare beneficiaries now have the same access to this new technology that was previously available only to non-Medicare patients."

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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