November 2018


Insightful news from the ASCRS Foundation
Industry partner donates a check—and more

by Natalie Zundel ASCRS Foundation Development Director

Dr. Ianchulev at a recent miLoop cataract mission in Panama
Source: Sean Ianchulev, MD

Dr. Park instructs wet lab attendants on the miLoop.
Source: Lisa Park, MD


ianTech is helping surgeons in Africa adopt the miLoop for challenging cataracts

The ASCRS Foundation welcomed ianTECH (Reno, Nevada) as a Silver Level Industry Partner ($15,000+) just over a year ago. ianTECH chose to make an annual commitment to the Foundation because their efforts closely align. ianTECH’s miMISSIONS program seeks to assist global outreach and humanitarian cataract efforts, similar to the Foundation’s International Programs.
ianTECH was co-founded by ASCRS member and Foundation board member Sean Ianchulev, MD, MPH. Dr. Ianchulev has a decade-long experience in developing new technologies in ophthalmology. While at Genentech (South San Francisco), he led the clinical development of Lucentis, and more recently he was the chief medical officer at Transcend Medical (acquired in 2016 by Alcon, Fort Worth, Texas). His pioneering research laid the foundation for intraoperative aberrometry.
“Having done more than a dozen humanitarian cataract missions worldwide, I have come to realize how transformational phaco technology has been for us in the developed world, yet how little it has done to change global cataract blindness. We have an epidemic with more than 25 million people blind from a problem that is completely treatable,” Dr. Ianchulev said.
He continued, “ianTECH is pioneering new micro-interventional approaches for phaco-free cataract surgery using pen-like disposable devices, such as the miLOOP. While this technology is being rapidly adopted in the U.S., it can be quite impactful for the developing world as well. ... There is no need to wait decades for innovation to trickle down to those who might need it most.”
ianTECH is going beyond writing a check to the Foundation. Because their work has close synergy, they are making their latest technology, the miLOOP, available to African ophthalmologists through the Foundation and their miMISSIONS program. Working with the International Committee of the ASCRS Foundation, under the leadership of Susan MacDonald, MD, and David Chang, MD, ianTECH has partnered to provide free access to the technology for humanitarian care. Together, they want to maximize impact of innovation by providing early access to cutting-edge technology for the developing world.

About the miLOOP

Using micro-thin, super-elastic, self-expanding nitinol filament technology, the miLOOP device is designed to offer cataract surgeons the ability to achieve full thickness lens fragmentation for any grade cataract, minimizing the intraocular ultrasonic vibrations and phaco power. This is especially useful in developing countries for several reasons. The small size of the device means the product can be distributed in even the remotest areas, where the ability to fragment rock-hard cataracts is a necessity. Alan Crandall, MD, Dr. MacDonald, and Dr. Ianchulev have collaborated on a new technique coined “mini-cap.” This technique allows surgeons to provide small incision surgery without the need for phacoemulsification equipment or skills. The technique allows SICS surgeons to reduce the size of their incision by reducing dividing the nucleus and expressing the small pieces. This technique can be adapted without the training necessary for small incision phaco.

Outreach to Africa

Sponsored by a grant from the ASCRS Foundation and with product donations from ianTECH, a miLOOP small incision cataract surgical wet lab was held in September at the 2018 College of Ophthalmology of Eastern, Central, and Southern Africa Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
ASCRS Foundation International Committee member Lisa Park, MD, teamed with Yonas Tilahun, MD, and Japheth Boniface, MD, to present the didactic portion, introducing the miLOOP device and the new small incision ECCE procedure, called the “mini-cap.” The three surgeons, along with doctors from Vision Care, conducted a hands-on wet lab attended by 26 doctors from South Sudan, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Malawi, Ghana, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The goal is to train cataract surgeons throughout Africa in a new, non-phaco method using the miLOOP to reduce the incision size for a manual ECCE surgery. The ASCRS Foundation is one of several organizations working with ianTECH to develop the capability to perform smaller incision ECCE without phaco in developing countries.
If you are interested in becoming an industry partner like ianTECH, visit
Want to make an individual donation to support the Foundation’s partnership? Visit

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