Bausch + Lomb’s Chuck Hess

Industry Insider is a timely chat with an ophthalmic industry thought leader.

Chuck Hess has been involved in the ophthalmic surgical business for more than 30 years, becoming the vice president and general manager of Bausch + Lomb Surgical in 2015. In this interview, he discusses what his division of Bausch + Lomb has in store for 2019 and beyond.

Ophthalmology Management: What can you tell us about the technology that Bausch + Lomb Surgical featured at AAO?

Chuck Hess: We featured three new products, including the eyeTelligence cloud-based infrastructure, Bi-Blade dual port vitrectomy cutters and enVista toric MX60T IOL.

EyeTelligence, which is a platform that runs on the IBM Cloud, is designed to help surgeons and practices using the Stellaris Elite Vision Enhancement system to work more efficiently. The first of two new eyeTelligence applications leverages the Watson Internet of Things to synchronize information data between surgical systems. For example, using eyeTelligence, surgeons can change surgical settings on one device and then broadcast those settings to any other Stellaris Elite, even to one across the country. The second application offers expedited technical support. With the click of a button, surgeons can remotely contact an expert at Bausch + Lomb who can provide prompt technical assistance.

The Bi-Blade dual port vitrectomy cutters enable the Stellaris Elite to not only cut at a rate of 15,000 cuts per minute but to do so in both directions, greatly increasing control and efficiency during vitrectomies. If you compare that to a standard single-blade cutter that goes at 7,500 cuts per minute in only one direction, you can see how much more productive the Bi-Blade is.

For the MX60T, we collected a lot of feedback from surgeons to learn exactly what they were looking for in a toric IOL. We found out they really appreciate options for low cylinder power, so the MX60T offers a wide range of powers and can go down to 0.9 D in the cornea plane.

It’s also rotationally stable, with clinical studies showing that 100% of the trial lenses rotated less than five degrees. Surgeons also liked the MX60T’s “glistening-free” optic.

OM: Do you have any recent information from clinical trials you would like to share?

CH: While we can’t share any data at this point, we can talk about two new trials we kicked off in the United States in 2018.

The first was for a new ophthalmic viscosurgical device, a formulation designed to provide surgeons with a new option for protection and control of the intraocular structures. We have just finished enrollment, and we’re looking to file for pre-market approval later in 2019.

The other trial is a study on the efficacy and safety of a new investigational trifocal IOL that will be an extension of the enVista platform. The new lens will carry all the features of the enVista platform, including scratch resistance, rotational stability and glistening-free optic. We also intend to have a trifocal toric version.

OM: How does Bausch + Lomb Surgical fit into the company’s overall ophthalmology strategy?

CH: What’s exciting about Bausch + Lomb is that it’s a fully integrated eye-care business — inclusive of Vision Care, Consumer Health, Surgical and Pharmaceuitcals — that allows each of our business units to maintain a strong focus on its respective subset of the industry and take advantage of our distinctive market position.

At Bausch + Lomb Surgical, one of our main goals is to rapidly and consistently deliver meaningful, new technology. The landscape ophthalmologists are operating in is continually changing; there are things being done today in the operating room that, thanks to technological advancements, we couldn’t do as recently as five years ago, and that’s really inspiring.

Bausch + Lomb Surgical is uniquely positioned to help improve patient outcomes and deliver surgeons new technologies that are more efficient, precise and effective. Because we invest heavily in R&D and continue to assess the landscape for new products coming to market, we believe we are the ideal partner for surgeons as they pursue their patients’ vision needs.

As I look to the future and how our business will evolve, we’re very excited to be part of the ophthalmic space and are grateful for the support of our customers.

OM: As the general manager for Bausch + Lomb’s U.S. Surgical division, could you tell us what duties that role involves?

CH: I have what I believe is one of the best jobs in the company: leading our U.S. Surgical division in this exciting period of innovation and product launches is extremely fulfilling.

I boil my job down into three areas of focus: the first is engaging with our customers, which includes the surgeons and the surgical facilities. I love working with them. Second, I help ensure my team has the resources needed to sell and support our products in the market. We know this market evolves rapidly, and we have to be on the forefront supporting surgeons to deliver the finest care possible. Third, I look critically at B + L Surgical’s portfolio to make sure it is in line with our organization’s broader vision of helping people see better to live better. OM