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Innovations | Feb 2016

Eyes for Innovation

“What if …?”

To many people, this type of question might be relatively ordinary—an innocent inquiry about a whimsical idea. To others, however, this open-ended question can be a spark—a spark illuminating a pathway to further ideas, evolutions, and even innovations.

The authors of the articles in this month’s cover focus belong to the latter group of people. These individuals have each worked tirelessly not only to find a solution to a problem but also to ensure that others can benefit from their findings. The visionaries who profile their innovations on the following pages have each found a unique way to combine a passion for ophthalmology and a passion for innovation in the quest to bring a clinically valuable product to market.

What does it take for one to realize the potential of an idea? To develop that idea and create a prototype? To test it? To plan the strategy needed to bring it to market and then execute that plan successfully? And how does one do all these things required of the innovator while balancing it with an ophthalmic practice? To address these and other questions, we asked seven ophthalmologist-innovators to outline their pathways to invention.

Obviously many if not all of the devices and technologies featured herein are the products of years and years of collaboration with colleagues, industry, and financial backers. Some of these products are already mainstays of clinical practice, and others are just now gaining momentum. Yet all have one thing in common: They started as nothing more than an idea.

Perhaps reading about these visionaries’ successes will be motivation enough to ignite your own pathway to innovation and provide you with a roadmap to turn that innovation into a clinically valuable product.

— Laura Straub, Editor-in-Chief