Some key drivers of the bionic eye market include rising burden of blindness with increasing aging population and successful completion of clinical trials resulting in entry of breakthrough technologies in the market.
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Growing age is one of the prime factors resulting in expansion of visually impaired patients in the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 65% of the total visually impaired population globally (i.e., approximately 285 million) is aged 50 or more.
Additionally, the visually impaired population aged above 50 years accounts for 20% of the global population. Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) are the most common causes of blindness. According to the WHO, AMD is the third leading cause of visual impairment with a prevalence rate of 8.7%. Considering growth of target population, demand for retinal prosthetics is anticipated to rise swiftly during the forecast period.
Moreover, alternative therapies such as anti-angiogenic drugs, laser therapy, Photodynamic Laser Therapy (PTD), and vitamins fail to completely cure AMD and RP. These treatments delay the vision loss with slowing progression of the disease. However, devices such as Argus II and miniature telescope are capable of restoring the vision in blind patients. As a result, adoption of retinal implants is escalating with rising awareness about the availability of the product in the market.
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On the other hand, high cost of commercially available products and stringent regulatory guidelines are primarily impeding growth of the global Retinal Implant Market. Furthermore, requirements of skilled professionals to perform implant surgery, and thereby necessity of training healthcare staff is further challenging adoption of bionic eye in the market.
Further key findings from the study suggest:
Argus II is the first approved retinal implant in the world. The device received CE mark in 2011 and the U.S. FDA approval in 2013 for the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa. Argus II is manufactured and marketed by Second Sight Medical Products, Inc.
Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. is actively involved in protecting technology and product through intellectual property rights. As of March 2015, the company had 220 granted patents in the U.S., 96 pending patent applications in the U.S., and 88 foreign granted patents.
Reimbursement plays a significant role in adoption of Argus II systems, since the cost of products is very high, that is, approximately USD 150,000. Presently, only one regional Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) based in the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. provides coverage for Argus II.
Moreover, the system is covered through formal policy or a case-to-case basis by many commercial payers and Medicare Advantage Plans. Second Sight is progressively involved in expansion of reimbursement coverage for Argus II.
Considering approved and pending patents across geographies, anticipated expansion in reimbursement coverage and application area of the product together offer growth opportunities for Argus II during the forecast period.
In 2014, North America accounted for the largest market share of around 51%. Availability of the product, reimbursement coverage, and high cost of the product are some of the factors resulting in the dominance of this region in the world.
Moreover, presence of skilled healthcare professionals to perform implant procedures coupled with higher adoption rate for advanced healthcare treatments and products is supporting growth of Retinal Implants in North America.
Many other companies and organizations are in the process of developing innovative products to treat AMD and retinitis pigmentosa. Successful completion of R&D of these organizations/companies coupled with rising awareness about the availability of the products is anticipated to boost market growth during the forecast period.
Players contributing to the development and growth of the market include, but are not limited to, Second Sight Medical Products, Inc., Retina Implant AG, Bionic Vision Australia (BVA), Boston Retinal Implant Project (BRIP) by Bionic Eye Technologies, Inc., and Visus Technology, Inc.
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