2EyesVision: A Clearer Way to Prescribe Multifocal Corrections
“Joining 2EyesVision has allowed me to be part of a project that I believe in, one that is solving a real market need and helping people.”
Multifocal corrections in the form of contact lenses or intraocular lenses can lead to life-changing vision improvements for an increasing number of people. But multifocal vision is hard to explain and to imagine, and every patient has a preferred option. In order to bring multifocality to a wider number of patients, it is important to provide clinicians with a tool to reduce patient uncertainty.
Álvaro Sánchez-Lozano, Director of Business Development at 2EyesVision, shares how the company has developed a head-mounted device that allows patients to experience the real world through multifocal corrections and decide what’s best for them in a matter of minutes.
What problem is 2EyesVision working to solve?
[ASL] Presbyopia, which is the loss of the accommodation capacity of the crystalline lens, affects 100% of the population over 45, or 1.8 billion people globally. In addition, cataracts are a major concern and currently the leading cause of blindness. A common solution for cataracts and presbyopia is to surgically remove the eye lens and replace it with an intraocular lens (IOL). However, there are a large number of IOLs in the market, and each patient has an optimal preference.
At present, choosing the right correction is challenging, as it is difficult for a patient to imagine how their vision is going to be with such corrections. Lens manufacturers are increasing their lens catalog, including a wide range of multifocal lenses (trifocal, EDOF) and different combinations among them (one lens in one eye and a different lens in the other to maximize visual acuity at different distances, known as monovision). A patient’s optimal preference is difficult to guess. As a result, most patients who may benefit from a successful multifocal IOL implantation or presbyopic treatment are not offered this solution. There’s a need for a methodology to help select the optimal correction for each patient.
2EyesVision offers the first solution that allows patients to compare the different corrections available, in a fast, non-invasive way. Our technology — the SimVis Gekko — is a head-mounted device that simulates multifocal corrections. So before procedures like cataract surgery or contact lens fitting, patients can have that experience and decide together with their practitioner if it’s the right correction for them.
How did 2EyesVision get started, and where are you now?
[ASL] Development of the technology started in 2009 by our co-founders, Susana Marcos and Carlos Dorronsoro. Susana (today Director of the Center for Visual Sciences at the University of Rochester) was the Director of the VioBioLab of the Spanish National Research Council, where she was working closely with Carlos. They are cutting-edge researchers in visual optics and technology, and they have more than 15 licensed patents to their names.
In 2009, Carlos and Susana responded to a call from an international company that was interested in solving this problem, increasing the penetration of intraocular lenses and allowing patients to experience multifocal corrections. They created the first prototype of the technology, which was much larger than what we have currently, and continued with research and development to get to the smaller binocular device we have now. In July of 2015, Carlos and Susana created 2EyesVision and I joined them later that year as the first full-time person committed to the project. Joining 2EyesVision has allowed me to be part of a project that I believe in, one that is solving a real market need and helping people.
At the moment, there are about 15 scientific publications that validate different aspects of the technology. We have already sold our first units to some clinicians and multinational companies, and we have 12 units currently in clinical tests and studies.
What has helped drive progress for 2EyesVision?
[ASL] With entrepreneurial projects, especially those related to health or deep technologies, it’s very hard to raise money. You have to go to the investors with something tangible, not only with an idea. We’ve had a lot of support from public institutions, especially from the Spanish National Research Council, and we’ve also secured European grants that have helped cover research. Thanks to that support, we were able to advance the development of our technology and actually address private investors with a working prototype.
Additionally, the experience of Carlos and Susana as well as our other promoters and partners has been invaluable. The specialists we’ve worked with — the engineers and ophthalmologists and optometrists and business consultants — are what’s helped us achieve the different milestones we’ve reached so far.
Any advice for other startups or entrepreneurs?
[ASL] Be patient — it takes time to reach market-ready maturity, especially with deep technologies. Work on something that you believe in, because you’re going to be spending a lot of time doing what you’re doing. And lastly, surround yourself with very good people. It doesn’t matter how good you are, because you cannot cover everything yourself. So make sure that you have a team that can support you and that you can fully trust.