ForSight's cataract eye surgery robot claims $55M VC round

ForSight Robotics aims to bring the benefits of a steady, remote-controlled hand to cataract eye surgery, and, now, the Israeli startup is $55 million closer to its goal.

The company previously raised $10 million in a seed funding round last year to advance its Oryom microsurgery system to help automate the complex tasks of removing a clouded lens from the eye and replacing it with a clearer artificial one.

The new funding will be used to help move Oryom into clinical trials as well as to help develop the system for other eye-related procedures such as retinal diseases and glaucoma, the company said.

The startup’s ultimate goal is to make the sophisticated ophthalmic procedure more accessible internationally but potentially in a safer manner and in ways that leave patients with the best vision possible. About 28 million surgeries are performed worldwide per year, though hundreds of millions of people live with cataracts that can eventually lead to blindness, the company estimated in a press release.

"We are pleased to be able to advance our technology with this investment to bring robotics into the world of ophthalmic surgery to help millions of patients who have to wait unnecessarily for procedures while their eyesight deteriorates," CEO Daniel Glozman, Ph.D., said in the press release.

The $55 million series A round was led by the Adani Group, a corporate conglomerate headquartered in Ahmedabad, India, with businesses in shipping, energy, agriculture and more. It was joined by ForSight’s previous backers, Eclipse Ventures and Mithril Capital, plus new investors Provenio Capital, Precision Capital, Reiya Ventures and the Ljungstrom family.

ForSight said that since its March 2021 seed funding, the company has doubled its head count. Meanwhile, its Oryom hardware—named after the Hebrew word for daylight—has been used by eye surgeons to perform cataract procedures in animal models, employing computer visualization and machine learning techniques to help replicate the expertise held by trained professionals facing high demand.

"With the advancement of computing power, AI and miniature mechanics, better access to healthcare will be made possible," said ForSight’s chief business officer, Joseph Nathan. "Our goal is to work with industry and surgeons across different geographies in order to benefit as many vision-impaired patients as possible."

The company also cites a 2019 report from the British Journal of Ophthalmology stating that due to the years of training necessary to produce someone capable of performing the procedure, affluent nations have 72 eye surgeons for every million people, while lower-income countries average 3.7 per million.

"Our goal is to democratize this highly sophisticated procedure, enabling patients around the world to easily access the treatment that can restore their vision," Glozman said.