Puppy dog eyes

April 23, 2009 by MassDevice

Healionics' eye implant is designed to treat glaucoma — in dogs.

Brandie Jefferson, MassDevice staff

Medical devices aren't just for people. Dogs get glaucoma, too. And, just as in humans, it causes great pain and can lead to blindness.

Glaucoma is a condition in which fluid builds up inside the eyeball, creating pressure that eventually damages the optic nerve.

Fortunately, Healionics has a way to help pups in pain,on display at the 2009 BioMEDevice conference here in Boston.

It’s a tiny piece of material — about 1 cm by ½ cm — made from implantable-grade silicone rubber. The device is surgically inserted into the eye, under the sclera, to provide a pathway for excess fluid to drain.

The material is also designed to keep the body from attacking it as a foreign substance.

The first commercial shipment of the Redmond, Wash.-based company's TR-ClarifyEYE implant was delivered last month to Arizona–based TR BioSurgical LLC.

Healionics CEO and co-founder Michel Alvarez told MassDevice that the company has signed a multi-year, multimillion-dollar deal with TR BioSurgical and has 20 commercial agreements for products being evaluated for human use.

The glaucoma device is the privately-owned company’s only commercial product — not bad for a company founded in March 2007. Alvarez says the firm has made progress on a variety of applications, including a glucose sensor, obesity treatments and aesthetic treatments.