Tuesday, December 27, 2005

FDA OKs STAAR's optical implant
The Food and Drug Administration has approved a surgically implantable lens designed to treat nearsightedness, giving myopic adults another alternative to eyeglasses or Lasik surgery, STAAR Surgical Co. said Friday.

The news sent Monrovia-based STAAR's stock soaring. Shares were up $2.74 to close at $8.51 Friday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The Myopic VISIAN ICL is profitable on the international market, but the company loses money in the United States, said David Bailey, chief executive officer and president of STAAR Surgical. "This launch is the fastest route to profitability in the U.S.," he said.

The ICL is approved for sale in 41 countries. It has successfully been implanted in more than 40,000 eyes worldwide, the company said.

It will join on the market another implantable lens, the Artisan, made by the Dutch company Ophtec B.V. and approved by the FDA in 2004.

The lens is placed behind the iris and is invisible when in position, Bailey said. It's a permanent correction, but it can be removed if needed, he said.

The procedure appeals to those unsuitable for laser treatment, such as people with dry eyes or high levels of myopia, Bailey said.