Sightpath Medical launching mobile femtosecond laser cataract surgery suite

The convergence of cataract and refractive surgery has spurred a surge in demand for new technology in clinical practice.

High-volume practices have enough cataract cases and financial muscle to offer refractive cataract surgery. However, market data suggest that other practices lack the surgical volume to adopt and profitably sustain new methods. Sightpath Medical fits this niche by providing mobile surgery platforms that enable practices to offer the latest treatments.

To expand its line of services and meet clients’ needs, Sightpath is launching a new femtosecond laser cataract suite.

“What Sightpath offers is an opportunity for a physician to be in the refractive cataract business at the site where both he and his patients feel most comfortable,” Joel Gaslin, Sightpath vice president of sales and marketing, said. “We help them maximize that opportunity by providing practice marketing support and clinical expertise.”

Until now, a practice only had two choices: to sit on the sidelines or commit to the capital investment necessary to purchase a femtosecond laser for cataract surgery, Gaslin said.

“At Sightpath, we fall in the middle of these two and offer a third option. We enter into 3-year committed agreements and then begin the work to help [practices] get started on adding that revenue stream to their business,” he said.

Sightpath’s fleet includes more than 200 excimer lasers, femtosecond lasers, wavefront aberrometers, Nd:YAG lasers and argon lasers, supported by certified laser engineers or technicians.

Growing surgical space

Sightpath Medical was formed when Midwest Surgical Services, a mobile cataract surgery service, and Laser Vision Centers, a mobile refractive surgery service, merged in 2007, Gaslin said.

“We are the largest provider of on-demand cataract and refractive services around the country. We do about 70,000 cataract procedures and about 30,000 LASIK procedures annually,” Gaslin said.

The new cataract suite is called MoFe, or Mobile Femtosecond. It is similar to Sightpath’s existing refractive surgery service, called RoRo (Roll-on/Roll-off).

The MoFe suite will feature the LenSx femtosecond laser (Alcon) and an intraoperative wavefront aberrometer.

The brands featured in the new offering are largely market-driven, Gaslin said.

“The line between cataract and refractive is getting blurrier,” he said. “As people are figuring out how to re-engineer their practices and take advantage of the opportunity with patient-shared billing, they’re looking for ways to get into the refractive cataract business, and that’s where Sightpath fits in.”

Equipment and offerings

In the refractive surgery arena, Sightpath’s primary excimer laser offerings are the Visx (Abbott Medical Optics) and WaveLight (Alcon). The IntraLase femtosecond laser (AMO) is offered for LASIK flap creation, the fastest-growing segment of Sightpath’s market, Gaslin said.

“Again, that reflects the market,” he said. “People realize that bladeless [surgery] resonates with patients. In fact, we as a company discontinued even offering microkeratomes in our service lines. All we offer to our clients is a bladeless procedure. It’s either PRK or femtosecond laser and excimer.”

Sightpath also provides femtosecond lasers for corneal transplantation, Gaslin said.

“This is a small segment of our business, but we pay close attention to trends where we may be of service to physicians and their patients,” he said.

– by Matt Hasson

  • Joel Gaslin can be reached at Sightpath Medical, 5775 W. Old Shakopee Road, Suite 90, Bloomington, MN 55437; 612-802-9090; fax: 952-345-8035; email:
  • Disclosure: Gaslin is Sightpath vice president of sales and marketing but has no other relevant financial disclosures.