SINGAPORE – 3 March 2021 – Cordlife Group Limited, a consumer healthcare company announced today that the Ministry of Health has issued a license permitting the Company to launch OptiQ, a corneal lenticule banking service in Singapore. Cordlife is the first company in Asia to let patients undergoing refractive eye surgery using lenticule extraction method (e.g. SMILE) for myopia or astigmatism to cryopreserve their corneal lenticules for potential treatment of presbyopia and other ocular conditions in the future.
The technology behind OptiQ was invented by Professors Donald Tan and Jodhbir Mehta from Singapore Eye Research Institute (“SERI”), the research arm of Singapore National Eye Centre (“SNEC”).
Ms Tan Poh Lan, Cordlife’s Group Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, said: “Cordlife has accumulated 20 years of experience in the banking of biological materials so offering the storage of corneal lenticules is a natural extension of our services.”
Myopia is an extremely common refractive error in Singapore with 82 percent of the 20-year-olds suffering from this condition — one of the highest in East Asia.
Newer flapless refractive surgical procedures, such as SMILE can correct myopia or astigmatism by extracting a tiny lenticule from each eye of the patient using a femtosecond laser. Presently, corneal lenticules extracted during such surgeries are routinely thrown away. Early animal and human studies have shown that corneal lenticules may help to correct presbyopia and hyperopia (longsightedness) as well as certain ocular conditions.
Presbyopia is an age-related condition in which the eyes gradually lose the ability to focus on objects clearly at close range. Currently, patients treat presbyopia using reading glasses, contact lenses, or artificial inlay implantation but this last method carries risks such as corneal inflammation, scarring and haze. By implanting corneal lenticules, such risks can be reduced and the rate of rejection will also be marginal due to inherent superior biocompatibility. Once lenticule implantation is approved as a standard of care, patients who have stored their own lenticules will have additional vision correction options.
“Almost everyone will have presbyopia after the age of 40. We believe this advancement in ophthalmology can help a lot of people and even bring healthcare in Singapore to the next level,” Professor Mehta of SERI added.
OptiQ is now available at SNEC and some eye clinics offering refractive eye surgery using lenticule extraction method in Singapore.