Cataracts, clouding of the lens inside the eye, are the most common cause of impaired vision worldwide.

In the US alone, cataracts impact over 24 million adults over age 40, with this number expected to double by 2020. By age 80, more than half of all Americans will have cataracts with direct medical treatment costs estimated at $6.8 billion per year.

Mild cataracts can be treated with bright lighting, glasses or other devices but ultimately surgery is required to replace the clouded lens with an artificial implant.

As part of this procedure, surgeons must manually remove a circular part of the capsule surrounding the lens. These are challenging techniques that can lead to a range of complications from difficulty in actually removing the lens and replacing it with an artificial one to infections and even retinal detachment. Both of the latter could lead to blindness.

But now a research group led by Malik Kahook, M.D., of the University of Colorado School of Medicine at the Anschutz Medical Campus (Department of Ophthalmology), has developed a ring-shaped device to enhance the surgeon’s ability to complete a perfectly round and centered opening in the capsule during cataract surgery.

The ring is micro-patterned to help it adhere to the capsule and remain in place during the surgery.

"There have been many attempts over the past few decades to make the opening of the anterior capsVERUSule safer and more reproducible by cataract surgeons of all skill sets and training levels," said Kahook, who holds the Slater Family Chair in Ophthalmology at the CU School of Medicine.

Mile High Ophthalmics CEO James Dennewill said he looks forward to launching the device next month.

Mile High Ophthalmics is a medical device company focused on devices that improve the outcomes of ophthalmic surgery and access to those outcomes. The company’s initial product is the VERUS Capsulorhexis Device, which helps create a round, centered capsulorhexis to optimize results from cataract surgery with artificial lens implantation.