A patent filed July 25, 1967 described an instrument with unprecedented characteristics in the field of ophthalmology. It was designed for "breaking apart and removal of unwanted material", especially cataracts, using a handheld tip operating in the "ultrasonic range with an amplitude controllable up to several thousandths of an inch".
Charles D. Kelman, M.D., who was exploring cataract surgery through a small incision, collaborated with Anton Banko, then director of Cavitron's Research Group, to develop the phacoemulsification procedure. Banko then designed the original phacoemulsifier, inventing what has been hailed as an engineering marvel.
This historic improvement in cataract surgery transformed what used to be a week-long stay in a hospital with an incision across 50% of the eye, to a very small, suture-less incision, performed on an outpatient basis, which takes less than five minutes to complete. This pioneering work was described in Charles Kelman's book, Through My Eyes: The Story of a Surgeon Who Dared to Take on the Medical World, New York: Crown Publishers, 1985.
In 1968, Banko founded Surgical Design and committed the company to innovation in the design and development of ophthalmic instruments .He followed up his invention for cataract surgery by not only inventing instruments for vitreo-retinal surgery but also patented the actual surgical procedure for closed vitrectomy. Surgical Design holds all the patents for the vitrectomy instruments used in these surgical procedures .The vitreo-retinal surgical work was performed with Charles L. Schepens, M.D., the founder of the Retina Foundation of Boston.
The result was a milestone in eye surgery: an automated, computerized vitrectomy system, completely under the surgeon's control .Extensive courses were given by the Retina Foundation of Boston and Surgical Design to surgeons throughout the world, teaching them the techniques of vitreo-retinal surgery.
In 1980, Surgical Design introduced the world's most advanced cataract removal system, the Ocusystem. This system far surpassed anything on the market at the time in terms of its safety, reliability and performance.
Since that time, the company has continuously set the standard for the latest innovations in instrumentation for cataract surgery, which enabled surgeons to develop safer and newer techniques to refine the procedure .Surgical Design has received, to-date, over 35 patents on instrumentation, which have revolutionized the safety of the cataract surgical procedure.