Rayner Takes Bold Measures to Prepare for NHS Support Once Cataract Surgery Resumes

Posted on 14/05/2020

Worthing (UK) – Rayner, the only UK manufacturer of Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) for treating cataracts and last month revealed as a winner of the 2020 Queen’s Awards for Enterprise (Innovation) for its RayOne IOL injector system, announced today that it substantially increased IOL production levels between January and April, despite NHS elective surgery being postponed following government safety measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Once restrictions are lifted, the NHS will face a considerable backlog of cataract operations. It is expected that there will be over 150,000 patients in the UK with serious visual impairment awaiting surgical treatment.

Rayner CEO, Tim Clover, said “Ordinarily, most companies today aspire for lean ‘just in time’ manufacturing, sourcing raw materials from all over the globe and maintaining small inventories. We anticipate serious market shortages of key medical technology as a result. At Rayner, we have taken a different view and always tried to support British business by keeping a very narrow supply chain that enables us to weather disruption. Despite our customers’ turbulent circumstances, we also decided to substantially boost our production levels, because for the NHS to cope beyond COVID-19 – and more specifically, for surgeons to restore the sight of their patients once again – the NHS needs a robust and reliable UK supply of critical technology like IOLs. We hope that our higher than normal inventory holding will allow us to play a critical role in helping patients get the care they need as a ‘new normal’ returns to hospital elective surgery.”

Clover continues “The UK market makes up a significant part of Rayner’s business. That is why in addition to our production investment, we continue to provide RayPRO – our free, non-contact telehealth solution delivering real-time patient reported outcomes after cataract surgery in a form that fully supports the UK’s social distancing strategy. We also chose not to furlough our UK sales team but have used this period to invest in several weeks of remote, intensive clinical training to make sure we serve customers even better once normality returns.”

Rayner continues to balance business operations whilst adhering to government guidelines with regards to its critical key medical supply workers.


About Cataract Surgery and the NHS

Cataract surgery is the most frequently undertaken surgical procedure performed by the NHS1. In 2019, there were approximately 611,000 cataract operations performed in the UK2.

The standard procedure for cataract surgery usually lasts 30-45 minutes3; the hardened, cloudy natural lens (often referred to as ‘the cataract’) is removed and replaced with a transparent artificial acrylic lens (also known as an Intraocular Lens). On the NHS system, a patient is usually treated with a standard monofocal IOL (although multifocal options are also available to private patients) meaning their distance vision is restored as a result of the operation.

The Impact of Delaying Cataract Surgery

Sight pervades all areas of life. Age-related cataracts not only cause visual difficulty, but can also impact an individual’s independence, quality of life and mental health. It has been shown that there is an association between cataract and depression4.

Visual impairment is also one of the risk factors which can contribute to falls for older people.  From 2017-2018 there was an average of approximately 18,000 emergency hospital admissions every month in the UK related to falls among patients aged 65 and over5. Cataract surgery has been shown to reduce the risk of falls in elderly patients with cataract-related visual impairment6.

About Rayner

Rayner designs and manufactures Intraocular Lenses (IOLs) as well as other ophthalmic solutions for use across the cataract patient clinical pathway. In partnership with Sir Harold Ridley, Rayner made the world’s first intraocular lens in 1949.

With over 70 years of continuous growth and experience, we remain at the forefront of innovation. We are focused on providing the best visual outcomes for clinicians and patients, and are driven by science to improve performance and safety.

Headquartered in Worthing, United Kingdom, Rayner markets its IOL portfolio and related products worldwide in over 80 countries through a network of distributors as well as direct sales teams in the United Kingdom, USA, Germany & Austria, Italy, Spain and Portugal.

For general enquiries or to arrange an interview, please contact Claire Scully, Global Marketing Communications Manager (ClaireScully@rayner.com).

Not all Rayner products are approved for sale in every country. Please contact your local Rayner distributor for details of which products are available in your area.

©2020 Rayner Intraocular Lenses Limited. RayOne is a registered trademark of Rayner. EC 2020-46 05/20


  1. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cataract-surgery/
  2. Freeman B. Market Scope: 2019 IOL Market Report. A Global Analysis for 2018 to 2024. 2019; 261.
  3. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cataract-surgery/
  4. Quigley, C. presented at XXXIV ESCRS Congress (cited McGrath, D. Depression and cataract. Eurotimes Stories, 2017. https://www.eurotimes.org/depression-cataract/)
  5. Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) (cited https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/falls-applying-all-our-health/falls-applying-all-our-health)
  6. Brannan S et al. A prospective study of the rate of falls before and after cataract surgery. British Journal of Ophthalmology. 2003 May; 87(5): 560–562.
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