Ophthalmic Equipment Industry: A Visionary Outlook

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Ophthalmic devices are utilised in the detection and treatment of ocular defects or deficiencies and eye disorders. The increasing incidence of eye disorders and loss of vision continue to accelerate the demand for ophthalmic devices. Ophthalmology industry is witnessing a rapid pace of technological advances in order to accomplish efficient diagnosis and treatment. According to Persistence Market Research, “Asia is the fastest growing market for ophthalmology equipment because of the accelerating number of eye surgeries for treatment of ophthalmic conditions. Moreover, there are several government initiatives that are supporting the growth of ophthalmology devices market in the Asian countries.”

India is considered to be a home to around 30 per cent of the world’s blind people. A huge part of the Indian population suffers from glaucoma and the country has over 10 million blind citizens. It is reported that 60 per cent of blindness is caused by cataract and about 13 per cent from glaucoma. Indian ophthalmologist surgeons conduct approximately 5 million cataract surgeries annually.

Santosh Rathi, Senior Vice President – Biomedical Services, Columbia Asia Hospital said, “80 per cent of blinding eye diseases could be avoided by effective screening which is the only way to detect diseases at an early stage to prevent visual impairment or blindness.” Thus, the need for advanced ophthalmic diagnostic device is of dire necessity.

The ophthalmic diagnostic equipment segment is supposed to be one of the most complex ophthalmic market segments. This segment comprises a huge number of individual products which range from small handheld equipment to large desktop units. These devices incorporate a wide variety of technologies. There are a large number of companies manufacturing ophthalmic diagnostic equipment & are coming out with technologically enhanced novel products. Commenting in regards to this, Mahadev Dhuri, General Manager (Indian Subcontinent), Halma India Pvt. Ltd states, “Keeler has now become one of the leading names in India towards the supply of Diagnostic Ophthalmic Equipment. Keeler is known for ophthalmic equipment such as Ophthalmoscope, Retinoscope, Indirect Ophthalmoscope, Non-Contact Tonometer, Slit Lamp, Cryo Surgery units and loupes. Last year, they have added Ultrasound for Ophthalmology (A Scan, B Scan, UBM and Pachy Meter) in their product portfolio.”

Indian ophthalmic equipment market has vast opportunities as ophthalmic services are offered all across major cities in India. There are a large number of practicing ophthalmologists in India. Some of the ophthalmologists work in solo practices while few ophthalmic surgeons are attached to hospitals. There are several prominent ophthalmic hospitals spread all over India. Numerous general hospitals too offer ophthalmic services.

In regards to the Indian ophthalmic equipment market, Market Scope estimates the following:

 India’s US$1.3 billion ophthalmic market will accelerate at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.8 per cent a year to $US1.8 billion by 2022.
 The two largest submarkets in terms of revenue are cataract surgery and diagnostic equipment, followed by retina and glaucoma. Revenues from cataract surgery in India are projected to produce more than a quarter of the total ophthalmic market revenues in the country.
 Cataract products are the largest ophthalmic surgical submarket in India.
 India’s cataract market shall total US$533.7 million by 2021, growing at a CAGR of 9.3 per cent.
 Small-incision cataract surgery is the leading surgical procedure performed to remove cataracts, reporting for over half of all cataract surgeries though; gradually ultrasonic phacoemulsification is gaining popularity.
 Fluctuation of India’s retinal disease market over the next four years as new biosimilar anti-VEGFs enter the market, making the revenues total to US$232 million in 2021.
 Glaucoma is considered to be the third-largest ophthalmic submarket in India. India’s glaucoma market will amplify to US$271.8 million by 2022 at a CAGR of approximately 11 per cent.
 Diagnostic equipment market is the second largest ophthalmic market in India which is anticipated to reach approximately $257 million in 2022.
 Chances that the growth of 4.8 per cent shall be driven by the development of telemedicine, improved imaging technologies, advancements to automate medical records, and an increase in Indian companies entering the ophthalmic device market.
 There are more than 100 companies competing in India’s ophthalmic market. Nine companies namely Alcon, Allergan, Johnson & Johnson Vision, Novartis, Carl Zeiss Meditec, Bausch + Lomb, Sun, Appasamy, and Santen sum up to more than two-thirds of manufacturer revenues, while the other smaller market players compete for the remaining 32 per cent of the ophthalmic market opportunity in India.

Market Drivers

It has been observed that there has been a tremendous rise in the prevalence of eye-related conditions such as glaucoma, cataract, refractive errors, age-related macular degeneration which has driven the Indian ophthalmic devices market towards a progressive growth. Further, the role of few more drivers have been observed in boosting the growth of ophthalmic device market such as rapid growth in the geriatric population, high demand for efficient diagnostic platforms, augmenting government investment towards research activities, continuous technological advancements in developing novel ophthalmic devices, persistent product modifications, use of mobile smartphone applications for eye visualisation, increasing demand for minimally invasive eye surgeries, growing adoption of contact lenses and spectacles, and increasing government initiatives to control visual impairment. It is also viewed that the subsequent increase in the number of ophthalmologists is also a vital factor which is escalating the demand for ophthalmic diagnostic devices.

Market Restraints

It is expected that there are a few restraints too, that shall limit the growth of this industry. Some of the restraints noted are lack of awareness towards eye diseases, high cost of ophthalmic devices, increasing adoption of refurbished ophthalmic equipment, reimbursement cuts for ophthalmic surgical procedures, some problems associated with the use of ophthalmology device, high risks linked with the eye surgeries & lack of skilled professionals, especially in the rural regions.

Initiative in the Indian market

Over the last decade, there are few advances which have brought about a revolution in the ophthalmic industry. Continued innovations in the ophthalmic equipment industry have become a necessity to offer effective treatment and reliable diagnosis. There are various ophthalmic equipment manufacturing companies which are coming out with technologically enhanced novel products. It is certainly predictable that the Indian ophthalmic device market is poised for a steady growth with the incorporation of various technologies into the ophthalmic devices. Speaking about the advancements in ophthalmic devices, Mr. Dhuri says, “Telemedicine has started making inroads in the ophthalmic industry. In India, there are local manufacturers who do produce ophthalmic equipment but new startups are coming out with innovative products like Fundus camera on Smart Phone, individual patient eye care which is really exciting. India is already producing significant numbers of Intra Ocular Lenses (IOLs) through various manufacturers which are not only economical but also good in quality.”

There are various innovations incorporated in the fundus camera & there are several companies manufacturing fundus cameras. Fundus camera market is growing at a fast pace & India is considered to be one of the most lucrative segments in the coming years due to the local presence of key players, increase in the number of diabetic cases, availability of expert services, and growing medical tourism. Speaking in regards to the Optomed brand of fundus camera, Ms. Rathi says, “Dense screening cannot be done with expensive desktop cameras, this is where Optomed offers hand-held and non-mydriatic retinal imaging devices and screening software solutions that are suitable for any clinic for screening of various eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma and AMD.”


With the rising incidence of ophthalmic disorders and loss of vision, there certainly arises a need for technologically advanced ophthalmic equipment. Ophthalmic equipment industry does require to continue to progress at a rapid pace for not only technologically advanced devices but also for quality products. In context to the quality of products Mahadev Dhuri, General Manager (Indian Subcontinent) – Halma India Pvt. Ltd states, “We have not seen people taking any advantage of “Make in India” initiative but time is really ripe for setting up manufacturing hubs in India. Once MNCs starts setting up plants in India, it would help local manufacture to improve their quality. This will improve the overall quality of the product, better diagnosis and effective treatment to patients. This will surely help Vision 2020 program (Right to Sight) for which India is committed to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020.” Thus, there is a massive opportunity for the growth of quality ophthalmic equipment market in India.