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Assil Named To Medical Advisory Board

Beverly Hills ophthalmic surgeon Dr. Kerry K. Assil has been named to the medical advisory board of Presbia, the Amsterdam-based developer of a new surgical solution for presbyopia, the age-related inability to read or focus on near objects.  

Dr. Jorge L. Alio of Madrid will join him on the board, which is chaired by Prof. Ioannis Pallikaris, M.D., widely regarded as the “father” of LASIK surgery.

“With the addition of these renowned leaders in refractive surgery to our panel, we are making significant strides in achieving the goal of bringing a safe and reliable solution to the 40 percent of the world’s adult population who may prefer to toss their reading glasses away and see close items clearly,” said Presbia CEO Zohar Loshitzer, a former Beverly Hills resident.

“Presbia is at a pivotal stage of development as it accelerates toward the commercialization of our Flexivue Micro-Lens, a safe, reversible implantable lens that treats presbyopia and, thereby, eliminates the need for reading glasses,” Loshitzer said.

“Since receiving CE certification to introduce the product in Europe, we have been advancing post-market surveillance under Prof. Pallikaris’s direction at the University of Crete’s Institute of Vision and Optics. Two other post-market centers on the continent are anticipated to be open within the next five months,”  Loshitzer added.

Assil is founder and medical director of the Assil Eye Institute, 450 N. Roxbury Dr.  He has made numerous inventions in the field of refractive surgery and trained thousands of eye surgeons in the latest refractive techniques.  He is author of more than 100 textbooks, textbook chapters and scientific articles on refractive surgery, and has served as editor/reviewer of multiple scientific journals.

In 1992, the International Society of Refractive Surgery appointed Assil to its board of directors. He earned his medical degree at UC San Diego.  

As to the potential of Presbia’s Flexivue Micro-Lens solution, Dr. Assil said: “The possibility of simultaneously addressing presbyopia and correcting the other eye’s  refractive errors via a minimally invasive and reversible intra-corneal procedure is both groundbreaking and exhilarating.”

Presbia’s solution to presbyopia involves implanting the Flexivue lens—three millimeters in diameter and less than 20 microns in edge thickness, and made of similar materials to those used in intraocular lenses the past 20 years—in the corneal stroma of the eye. The lens is placed in a “pocket” created in the cornea by a femtosecond laser—the same kind routinely used for LASIK surgery. The surgeon inserts the lens into the pocket using a proprietary device developed by Presbia.

The pocket then seals itself, holding the lens in the center of the visual axis.  The lens can stay in place permanently, or be safely removed if, for example, the patient’s presbyopia advances requiring a stronger prescription. No general anesthesia is required for the procedure which typically takes less than 10 minutes and is performed on the non-dominant eye. A video on the procedure (not yet available for use in the United States) is at www.presbia.com.

Presbia is an ophthalmic-device company formed last year from the combination of Visitome and PresbiTech.  It is a portfolio entity of Los Angeles-based Orchard Capital Corporation, a private equity firm founded by Richard Ressler of Beverly Hills.

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