First SMILE Laser Eye Surgery Procedures for U.S. Navy Performed at Naval Medical Center San Diego

Cmdr. John B. Cason, M.D., who will lead an upcoming Tri-Service study on the benefits of SMILE laser vision correction for patients working in extreme environments and dynamic roles unique to service members and first responders, performed the first minimally-invasive SMILE treatments for the U.S. Navy on Thursday April 6, 2017 at the Navy Refractive Surgery Center San Diego.

A patient undergoes the second small incision lenticular extraction (SMILE) procedure at Naval Medical Center San Diego.

SAN DIEGO (April 6, 2017) A patient undergoes the second small incision lenticular extraction (SMILE) procedure at Naval Medical Center San Diego. The SMILE procedure is the latest advancement in refractive surgery for correcting myopia or nearsightedness. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elizabeth Merriam/Released)

A patient undergoes the second small incision lenticular extraction (SMILE) procedure at Naval Medical Center San Diego.
Cmdr. John Cason, program director Navy Refractive Surgery, performs the first small incision lenticular extraction (SMILE) procedure at Naval Medical Center San Diego.

SAN DIEGO (April 6, 2017) Cmdr. John Cason, program director Navy Refractive Surgery, performs the first small incision lenticular extraction (SMILE) procedure at Naval Medical Center San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elizabeth Merriam/Released)

Cmdr. John Cason, program director Navy Refractive Surgery, performs the first small incision lenticular extraction (SMILE) procedure at Naval Medical Center San Diego.
Cmdr. John Cason, program director Navy Refractive Surgery, performs the first small incision lenticular extraction (SMILE) procedure at Naval Medical Center San Diego.

SAN DIEGO (April 6, 2017) Cmdr. John Cason, program director Navy Refractive Surgery, performs the first small incision lenticular extraction (SMILE) procedure at Naval Medical Center San Diego. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Elizabeth Merriam/Released)

Cmdr. John Cason, program director Navy Refractive Surgery, performs the first small incision lenticular extraction (SMILE) procedure at Naval Medical Center San Diego.

DUBLIN, California, USA, April 19, 2017

ZEISS ReLEx® SMILE, a new revolutionary minimally-invasive laser eye surgery procedure recently approved by the U.S. FDA*, expands the vision correction options for myopia, or nearsightedness, that U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) refractive surgeons can now offer to service members whose work requires excellent visual acuity in demanding conditions. The first procedures for U.S. Navy personnel were performed by Cmdr. John B. Cason, M.D., M.C. / F.S., Program Director, Navy Refractive Surgery Center San Diego. These procedures for the U.S. Navy follow the first procedures for the DoD at Fort Belvoir Hospital in March 2017 by Army Colonel Bruce Rivers, M.D., Director of the Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program and Research Center.

Commander Cason for the U.S. Navy, in conjunction with Colonel Rivers for the U.S. Army, and Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Caldwell, M.D. for the U.S. Air Force, will be conducting an extensive performance-based study of the SMILE procedure for active duty members who work in visually demanding situations and harsh environments.

The Refractive Surgery Center at the Naval Medical Center San Diego, which is currently headed by Dr. Cason, has been at the forefront of refractive surgery research for over 24 years, rigorously evaluating new technologies and diligently analyzing outcomes. As the first military medical center to adopt PRK and LASIK vision correction, the Naval Medical Center San Diego has conducted hundreds of sentinel clinical studies on refractive surgery which have resulted in a robust DoD-wide program that provides the procedures to active duty personnel. Over 40,000 laser vision correction procedures are performed annually within the DoD, with over 250,000 service members having received treatment.

The Tri-Service study, part of the DoD refractive surgery program, represents a collaborative effort of all three military services, sharing resources and research efforts, to evaluate visual and job-specific task performance after the SMILE procedure.

“The Naval Medical Center San Diego continues to be at the vanguard of rigorously evaluating and then offering the best technology to our service men and women who are called to go into harm’s way,” says Steven C. Schallhorn, M.D., founder of the U.S. Department of Defense refractive surgery program and Chief Medical Officer for Global Ophthalmic Devices at Carl Zeiss Meditec. “The advantages of SMILE are uniquely suited for military medicine. As a minimally-invasive procedure, I believe that SMILE can not only improve the lives of those who serve by reducing dependence on eyeglasses and/or contact lenses, but can also provide them the vision they so critically need to perform in challenging situations and extreme conditions.”

“The collaboration between the DoD and ZEISS marks a new milestone for SMILE, the latest advancement in laser vision correction. Overcoming dependence on eyeglasses or contacts can enhance quality of life, but it is also critical to the safety and performance of active duty personnel,” says Jim Mazzo, Global President Ophthalmic Devices at Carl Zeiss Meditec. “We are proud ReLEx SMILE from ZEISS can meet the rigorous standards of our U.S. military surgeons and the unique demands of their patients.”

ReLEx SMILE, a high-precision procedure which was recently approved by the U.S. FDA, is an innovative minimally-invasive approach to myopia correction that is only available on the VisuMax® femtosecond laser from ZEISS. In the SMILE procedure, surgeons correct patients’ myopia using the VisuMax femtosecond laser to create a precise disc-shaped lenticule within the cornea, which is then removed by the surgeon through a small incision, also created by the laser.

Over 750,000 SMILE procedures have been performed internationally since its introduction in 2011 with over 1000 surgeons regularly performing the procedure. Now with the U.S. FDA approval, SMILE, the latest refractive technology from ZEISS, can be used by doctors at the U.S. Department of Defense to continue providing the most advanced medical care to U.S. service members.

*U.S. FDA Approved Indications for Use:
For use in the reduction or elimination of myopia -1.00 D to -8.00D, with ≤ -0.50D cylinder and MRSE -8.25D in the eye to be treated in patients who are 22 years of age or older with documentation of stable manifest refraction over the past year.

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Brief profile

Carl Zeiss Meditec AG (ISIN: DE 0005313704), which is listed on TecDAX of the German stock exchange, is one of the world’s leading medical technology companies. The Company supplies innovative technologies and application- oriented solutions designed to help doctors improve the quality of life of their patients. It provides complete packages of solutions for the diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases, including implants and consumable materials. The Company creates innovative visualization solutions in the field of microsurgery. With approximately 2,900 employees worldwide, the Group generated revenue of € 1,088 million in financial year 2015/16 (to 30 September).

The Group’s head office is located in Jena, Germany, and it has subsidiaries in Germany and abroad; more than 50 percent of its employees are based in the USA, Japan, Spain and France. The Center for Application and Research (CARIn) in Bangalore, India and the Carl Zeiss Innovations Center for Research and Development in Shanghai, China, strengthen the Company's presence in these rapidly developing economies. Around 35 percent of Carl Zeiss Meditec AG’s shares are in free float. The remaining approx. 65 percent are held by Carl Zeiss AG, one of the world’s leading companies in the optical and optoelectronic industries.

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