A First-of-its-Kind Corneal Lenticule Banking Service in Singapore

Mar 2021

Singapore consumer healthcare company Cordlife Group Limited has received a license from the Ministry of Health permitting the Company to launch OptiQ, a corneal lenticule banking service in Singapore. Cordlife is the first company in Asia to let patients undergoing certain refractive eye surgery using lenticule extraction method (e.g. SMILE) for myopia or astigmatism, cryopreserve their corneal lenticules for the potential treatment of presbyopia and other ocular conditions in the future.

The technology behind OptiQ was invented by the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI), the research arm of the Singapore National Eye Centre (SNEC). SERI is one of the key public healthcare facilities for eye surgeries and treatments. The expertise to store and re-implant a person’s corneal lenticule was developed by SERI and patented by Singapore Health Services Pte Ltd. This research is supported by the Singapore National Research Foundation under its Translational and Clinical Research Flagship Program and administered by the Singapore Ministry of Health’s National Medical Research Council.

Myopia is an extremely common refractive error in Singapore – it is projected that 80 to 90% of all Singaporean adults above 18 years old will be myopic and 15 to 25% of these individuals may have high myopia by 2050. This phenomenon is driven by modern lifestyle changes such as lesser time spent outdoors and the consistent use of mobile devices and computers. In the last 20 years alone, SNEC has performed over 73,000 laser refractive surgery procedures. There are several refractive surgery options available for the treatment of myopia, including newer flapless refractive surgical procedures, such as SMILE. SMILE corrects myopia or astigmatism by extracting a tiny lenticule from each eye of the patient using a femtosecond laser. Presently, corneal lenticules extracted during such surgeries are routinely thrown away.

Along with the rising prevalence of myopia, rising disposable income in Singapore is expected to help drive the demand for OptiQ.

(Sources: Cordlife; Ministry of Health)