Project: Advanced IntraOcular Lenses through low cost cast moulding

Project goal is the development and combination of the following key technologies._x000D__x000D_• A unique and cost effective cast moulding process for the production of intraocular lenses (IOLs), capable of producing lenses with the various refractive powers required by patients._x000D__x000D_• Novel high refractive index polymer systems designed specifically for IOLs providing superior material and lens properties leading to improved patient outcomes._x000D__x000D_The project will provide surgical benefits through less invasive surgical procedures, economic benefits through reduced production costs and environmental benefits through much reduced consumption of petrochemical derived raw materials. These benefits will impact both human wellbeing and the Governments responsible for funding this type of surgery._x000D_IOLs are used to replace the natural crystalline lens following cataract or refractive surgery. The procedure is one of the most performed surgeries in the world with more than 19 million performed each year representing a global revenue of 1.595 million Euros. This figure is expected to grow to 2.360 million Euros by 2015._x000D__x000D_Cataract blindness poses one of the greatest public health challenges of the 21st century. It is a growing financial burden for governments in developed countries and a costly humanitarian tragedy for developing countries. The WHO estimates that 20 million people worldwide are blind from bilateral cataract, a number projected to increase to 76 million by 2020._x000D__x000D_The current state of art for the combined manufacturing process and biocompatible IOL materials has been used for the last 20 years. Lenses are generally made using costly and laborious lathing and milling which is also environmentally wasteful as 90% of the material is wasted. Constant increase in demand and advances in lens design illustrate the current methodology has reached financial and technological limitations. The polymers available are relatively limited and PMMA based materials have been used for many years. The last 15 years hydrophilic materials have established themselves for production of foldable IOLs using this process. The surge in demand for foldable IOLs has continued further with hydrophobic acrylic polymers now enjoying a leading share of the market. Unlike hydrophilic materials – that can be lathed in dry state and become flexible after hydration, hydrophobic acrylic IOL materials are flexible at room temperature, making production of lenses through lathing and milling challenging. In addition the monomers used for the manufacture of current hydrophobic polymers cost significantly more than those used for hydrophilic products. _x000D__x000D_Cast moulding has been used as an efficient method of mass producing contact lenses and the project will apply this general form of production to the fabrication of finished and semi-finished IOL products. The IOL will be formed through a polymerisation process in which a set volume of liquid monomers are cured to form the finished IOL shape. This volume of liquid is shaped according to a cavity that is created when two halves of a mould are brought together and fixed in a precise position relative to each other. These mould parts, referred to as the male half and the female half of the mould, are fabricated from polypropylene and are formed through an injection moulding process. _x000D__x000D_To fulfil the ongoing requirement for less invasive surgery new sophisticated biocompatible polymers (and their corresponding monomers) are needed however the production cost associated with these specialised monomers is significant. The proposed manufacturing route will not only address these considerations but also provides a long term solution for future requirements in terms of production volume. In addition the project will provide a solution for a more efficient and cost effective production process for most existing IOL designs and materials. This approach offers opportunities for developing countries to obtain more cost-effective intraocular lenses produced in Europe._x000D__x000D_The consortium brings together the expertise in high precision moulding of Innovalens B.V (Eindhoven, the Netherlands) and Contamac Ltd (Saffron Walden, UK) one of the world leading suppliers of biocompatible polymers to the ophthalmic industry. Both Ps have filed relevant patents in their particular fields and will combine their technologies to develop a new range of high refractive index IOLs._x000D_The Ps will develop a prototype IOL made from the high refractive index monomer and the moulding platform within the next 30 months and a budget of EURO 2 million. The project will result in the interim development of semi-finished IOL devices that will be suitable for use by existing Contamac customers. These customers will perform very short and straightforward lathing operations, massively reducing their manufacturing costs and amount of wasted polymer material. Such a product would represent a significant step forward for the IOL producers._x000D_

Acronym AIOL (Reference Number: 6978)
Duration 01/02/2012 - 31/01/2015
Project Topic Developing a moulding process for low cost manufacture of advanced intraocular lenses (providing a 90% reduction in manufacturing costs) using novel monomers providing increased refractive index, optimised mechanical properties which enables smaller incision surgery and reduced risk of complications
Project Results
(after finalisation)
A patented cast moulding process for the low cost manufacture of advanced intraocular lenses (providing a 90% reduction in current manufacturing costs) has been developed. Novel, patented monomers providing increased refractive index and optimised mechanical properties enabling surgical procedures to be performed with smaller incisions leading to improved patient outcomes, more efficient procedures and reduced risk of complications.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 7

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
2 Innovalens B.V. Coordinator Netherlands
2 Contamac Limited Partner United Kingdom