IBM and Bausch + Lomb’s app for Apple iPhone and iPad will help tens of millions keep their sight

Bausch + Lomb, a leading global eye health company, and IBM today announced a collaboration to develop the first app of its kind for iPhone and iPad for surgeons who perform cataract surgery. The innovative app will help surgeons streamline their workflow by delivering patient information and clinical insights as well as intraocular lens (IOL) options on a single, digital platform at the point of care.

Cataract extraction is the most common surgical procedure among Medicare beneficiaries and cataract rates are on the rise1. Cataracts affect more than 22 million Americans and that number is expected to rise to 30 million by 2020. Cataracts – a clouding of the eye’s lens that can lead to blindness if untreated – affect approximately 70 percent of people by age 753. In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens – an IOL.

Today, many cataract surgeons consult patient data in the operating room (OR) via print-outs or notes created during pre-op patient office visits, which can often be bothersome and inefficient. The new app from Bausch + Lomb will be designed to provide surgeons with access to information that patients have agreed to share, enabling doctors to plan their surgical interventions — including IOL selection — and have the option to view the information on digital devices or display screens on walls in the operating room during surgery.

The app will be designed to electronically manage patient data across iPhone and iPad while hosting health-related data on IBM Cloud Platform, Bluemix — a security rich, cloud-based environment — and relaying customized IOL options to surgeons that they will use to help enhance surgical planning and provide better patient care. The MobileFirst for iOS team, which is part of IBM Global Business Services, will design and develop this custom app for Bausch + Lomb to help drive innovation in healthcare. Bausch + Lomb’s vision is to optimize the app to collect data over time, resulting in a cognitive app that applies machine-based learning and predictive analytics to deliver real-time insights to surgeons.

By compiling each cataract patient’s information in the app — including IOL calculations, corneal topography and other biometry results as well as lifestyle preferences — surgeons and their staff may generate a comprehensive, integrated profile to help them facilitate IOL selection and procedure planning. Historical surgical data and other patient insights can also be housed within the app to potentially support positive clinical outcomes for future cataract.

“Bausch + Lomb is excited to collaborate with IBM to develop this innovative platform for ophthalmology,” said Andy Chang, senior vice president and general manager, U.S. Surgical, Bausch + Lomb, in a statement. “By combining IBM’s advanced data management capabilities with Apple’s innovative app ecosystem and our clinical expertise, we are working to provide surgeons with a convenient, personalized tool that helps them better manage and access patient profiles digitally, and provide personalized IOL options. This unique relationship demonstrates Bausch + Lomb’s unwavering commitment to being a driving force in the ophthalmology industry by developing novel solutions that address the unmet needs of our customers and their patients.”

“IBM works closely with companies to deliver a mobile experience that transforms how professionals work across industries and we look forward to bringing the benefits of mobile technology to some of the world’s busiest surgeons — cataract surgeons,” said Mahmoud Nagshineh, general manager, Apple partnership, IBM, in a statement. “Bausch + Lomb has identified a significant need in the ophthalmic community and the new app we will create will equip ophthalmologists with the data they need at their fingertips to help them make better, more informed decisions for their patients.”

“This new mobile solution has real potential to fundamentally change how our practice manages patient information throughout the cataract procedure, from planning through post-operative follow-up,” said Anil Shivaram, M.D., from Claremont Eye Associates in Claremont, CA, in a statement. “Additionally, having the ability to access the variety of each patient’s surgical information on an iPhone or iPad will allow surgeons to streamline their time management and decision-making process. Allowing this mobile platform to organize and essentialize the numerous data sets that cataract surgeons must tackle with each case will also allow for refinement over time for each individual surgeon. By capturing, displaying, and analyzing the data over time in an iterative process, this app is expected to help surgeons provide better care and potentially help provide improved surgical outcomes, while at the same time increasing their efficiency.”

Pilot study testing for the new application is expected to begin in late 2016.

About Cataract Surgery
Cataract surgery is the most common surgical procedure among Medicare beneficiaries, and cataract rates are on the rise. Cataracts affect more than 22 million Americans and that number is expected to grow to 30 million by 2020. Cataracts – a clouding of the eye’s lens that can lead to blindness if untreated – affect approximately 70 percent of people by age 75. In cataract surgery, the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens – an intraocular lens (IOL). Similar to contact lenses, there are a wide variety of IOLs for surgeons to select based on a number of factors for each patient including lifestyle preferences and other specific visual needs.

About Bausch + Lomb
Bausch + Lomb, a Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. company, is a leading global eye health organization that is solely focused on protecting, enhancing and restoring people’s eyesight. Our core businesses include ophthalmic pharmaceuticals, contact lenses, lens care products, ophthalmic surgical devices and instruments. We develop, manufacture and market one of the most comprehensive product portfolios in our industry, which is available in more than 100 countries.

Source: IBM

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  1. I’ve known three people who have undergone cataract surgery. The procedure is quite simple (45 mins), you go home, and it heals quickly and completely.

    For older people, the difference is simply incredible. As cataracts develops, vision slowly deteriorates, until the point where they hardly see anything, and glasses don’t help. Replacing the blurred lense with an artificial one restores their vision, and the shock is genuine. My aunt spent days looking out the window at the cityscape, picking out various small details she long forgot existed.

    It is one of the most significant quality-of-life improvements one can get.

    1. This corrective surgery is a great blessing to humanity. I was having increasing trouble reading (and the thin fonts introduced in iOS 7 distressed me) so I went in for it.

      I had the blue eye done in 2013 and I’ve scheduled the green one for this summer 2016. The only reason I didn’t do both at once, as some do, was that I was still leading a consultancy then and that’s bound to be harder when you’re temporarily blind with dual eye patches.

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