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Sights set on the retina


“The retina, the optic nerve and the macula are well-known sources of information for a variety of ailments,” explains CEO Roy Davis. “High blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases can be detected before the symptoms are realized by the patient. Our technology can help a physician save sight and allow for earlier diagnosis, which can result in more effective treatment and even save lives.”

Diagnostic devices by Optos (LSE:OPTS) use patented technology to capture a 200° ultra-wide image of the retina. Within 0.25 seconds, a laser scans the retina and creates an image. “Our one-of-a-kind technology allows for early diagnosis of eye problems,” Mr. Davis highlights the advantages of Optos devices. “Our tools are the best in their field. They are easy to operate, require only a few minutes and provide a comfortable method of examination that in no way hinders the patient afterwards.”

Optos got its start when the son of founder Douglas Anderson went blind in one eye at the age of five despite regular checkups. In traditional exam methods, only about 15% of the retina can be seen. With Optos devices, the optomap images show up to 82%. The company’s US office is in Boston, and Optos has seven locations worldwide. Scotland is the site of the company’s R&D, where 157 of its 440 employees work.

Optometrists and ophthalmologists around the globe trust Optos devices. About 80% of its customers are in North America. Other markets include the UK, Scandinavia, Germany, France, Belgium, India, Australia, China and Japan, though they are not limited to these areas. Europe accounted for 15% of sales last year, while the Far East was 5%. “These are extreme growth markets, however,” Mr. Davis points out. “Within the last three years, exports to Europe have grown by 48%, with 11% of that in the UK alone.”

Optos currently has 4,400 devices worldwide, but the company is not about to stop there. “One of our latest developments is the Daytona, a desktop device,” Mr. Davis reveals. “It represents a trend towards smaller devices using the latest manufacturing capabilities that improve dependability specifically for our new markets in Asia and Africa. Daytona offers enhanced image quality for screening and diagnosing retina conditions along with a new image modality called autofluorescence.”

As a complement to its diagnostic devices, Optos plans to offer treatment instruments, such as lasers and optical coherence tomographers. Despite this broadened view, Optos will continue to keep its sights focused on the retina.

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