(Knute and Dr. Patricia Buehler | Photo courtesy of Osheru)
Dr. Patricia Buehler, an eye surgeon from Bend, won The Winning Pitch Challenge with her innovative device, Ziplyft, hosted by Eyecelerator in San Diego, California. The competition inspires ophthalmologists to develop tools or technology that provide solutions for common eye diseases.
As people age, excess upper eyelid skin can impair peripheral vision and make a person appear tired and less youthful. Removal of this excess skin is called a blepharoplasty or eyelid lift and there are over half a million of these procedures done in the U.S. each year. The problem with the procedure is that it can take the surgeon an hour to perform and costs the patient $4,000 on average. The patient can have two weeks of bruising and swelling. Frustrated by the problems with the current blepharoplasty procedure, Dr. Buehler wanted to find a less invasive way to remove this excess skin. Dr. Buehler was inspired by an ancient Egyptian medicine exhibit where she read that healers would remove excess eyelid tissue by compressing it between two small twigs, allowing the tissue deprived of blood supply to fall off. Based on this idea Dr. Buehler developed and patented the Ziplyft device to help remove excess skin, providing a youthful and revitalized appearance with less downtime.
Ziplyft allows for the first minimally invasive surgery of the lids. The Ziplyft procedure reduces procedure time, can be done without IV sedation, and minimizes post-operative bruising and swelling so patients can return to their normal activities more quickly.
Eyecelerator, known for bringing the future of ophthalmology into focus, partners with leading ophthalmologists, business partners, and scientific talent. The Winning Pitch “Sharks” are leaders in the field of ophthalmology, including physicians themselves, early innovators, and industry leaders. It is one of the world’s largest ventures conferences and held semi-annually.
Over five hundred participants and judges from Alcon, Neurotech Pharmaceuticals, Longitude Capital and a physician and Chief Medical Officer of TLC Lase Eye Centers watched the five-minute pitch followed by five minutes of questions and answers and then a vote. Both the judges and the participants voted.
Dr. Buehler and her team at Osheru are thrilled to have won The Winning Pitch Challenge with Ziplyft. They believe that their innovative device can make a significant difference in the lives of patients, and they look forward to continuing to develop and promote the device.