The Aravind Eye Care System, a global leader in eliminating avoidable blindness in developing nations today announces a clinical study partnership with LumenisÂ®, one of the world's largest medical laser companies and a global developer, manufacturer and seller of laser, light-based and radiofrequency devices for ophthalmic, aesthetic, and surgical applications.
As part of the agreement, both Lumenis and Aravind intend to collaborate on a large-scale relatively long term prospective, randomized, and controlled clinical trial comparing topical medical therapy with Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) as initial treatment for open angle glaucoma in the Indian population.
Major elements of this cooperation include:
- Comparing the efficacy of Lumenis SLT to topical medication in lowering IOP
- Comparing treatment side-effects using specific quality-of-life measures associated with glaucoma
- Analysis of the costs of Lumenis SLT and topical medication
- Comparing other clinical measures for glaucoma including optic disc, visual field and visual acuity between Lumenis SLT and topical medicatio
"It is a tremendous privilege to collaborate with the Aravind Eye Care System on this major clinical study, evaluating the efficacy of SLT in the Indian population", said Mr. Kfir Azoulay who heads Lumenis Vision's Global Marketing Organization. "Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty (SLT) was pioneered and brought to market by Lumenis approximately 10 years ago; and since then it has gradually established itself as a clinically viable and highly successful treatment modality for managing open-angle glaucoma. We are confident that this new clinical study with Aravind will further demonstrate the positive role SLT can play in alleviating the plight of glaucoma patients in developing nations in general and in India in particular", added Mr. Azoulay
Dr George V Puthuran, MS, Head of Department, Glaucoma Services at the Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai says that "Glaucoma is a daunting therapeutic dilemma in any situation especially in the developing world. Glaucoma is usually symptom-free until patients are almost irreversibly blind. In most situations, glaucoma is initially treated with eye drops that require daily regular administration for the duration of the disease at often times for life. For many reasons, patients forget or do not regularly take their drops; many patients do not tolerate drops well or are unable to accurately get the drops onto their eyes. Poor compliance and suboptimal treatment with drops in glaucoma can lead to irreversible visual disability or blindness."
Dr George V Puthuran continues; "Ideally a safe and effective long-lasting treatment that obviates the need for patients to remember to take eye drops is what is needed to prevent needless glaucoma blindness. Both Aravind Eye Care System (a global leader in attacking and minimizing blindness in developing nations) and Lumenis, a leader in glaucoma laser technology, have teamed up to evaluate a new strategy to prevent glaucoma blindness. Together, both Aravind and Lumenis are collaborating to evaluate the effect of Selective Laser Trabeculoplasty, a painless laser application, in minimizing glaucoma progression in India"
SLT technology was pioneered and introduced to the medical market by LumenisÂ® in 2001, based on the scientific and clinical work of Mark Latina, MD et.al. It is a safe and non-invasive in-office procedure that effectively reduces eye pressure in patients with open-angle glaucoma â€“ the most common form of glaucoma.
The SLT mechanism of action does not rely on costly medications. Instead, it utilizes an advanced non-thermal energy beam that selectively targets specific melanin-containing cells within the angle of the anterior chamber of the eye. This produces a natural biological response that leads to pressure drop shortly after the treatment is performed.
Alan L. Robin, MD, Associate Professor Ophthalmology and International Health, Johns Hopkins University comments that "Lumenis and Aravind Eye Care centers are undertaking a large scale important investigation that has the potential to change the algorithm of glaucoma care. If we can adequately lower the IOP to maintain functional activities during a patient's life span and prevent blindness, and also increase utilization of available health care facilities, we will have attained an important goal. This might help answer the daunting question of how to better lower IOP in these less developed areas."
Dr. Pazit Pianka, Senior Ophthalmologist and the Lumenis Vision Medical Director also spoke about the partnership "We are very excited and proud to collaborate with Aravind on this joint study because it is the first of its kind in India. Four Aravind hospitals from separate locations around India will recruit more than 600 patients making it a robust study that is based on a purely homogenous population of Indian people.
"The study will be randomized and Laser treatment (SLT) will be offered to early open angle glaucoma patients. Treated patients will then return for follow up examinations 1week post SLT treatment, and then at 1,3,6,9, 12, 18 and 24 months as outlined in the Protocol." Dr. Pianka added.
About Aravind Eye Care System
Aravind Eye Care System, a social organisation committed to the goal of elimination of needless blindness through comprehensive eye care services. It is also an international training centre for ophthalmic professionals and trainees who come from within India and around the world. It is an institute for research that contributes to the development of eye care and to train health-related and managerial personnel in the development and implementation of efficient and sustainable eye care programs.
Lumenis Ltd., the world's largest medical laser company, is a global developer, manufacturer and distributor of laser and light-based devices for Aesthetic, Surgical and Ophthalmic applications, and has more than 800 employees worldwide. Lumenis holds approximately 250 patents, has over 75 FDA clearances, an installed base of over 80,000 systems and presence in over 100 countries. Lumenis endeavors to bring the finest state of the art technology products to the market, fulfilling the highest standards of excellence, quality and reliability, delivering premium value and service to its customers. The name Lumenis is derived from the Latin words meaning "Light of Life" highlighting the light which is the basis of our technologies used to enhance life. For more information about Lumenis and its products, please visit: www.lumenis.com