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Innovation in sight

Novartis is reimagining the treatment and prevention of visual impairment and blindness. We aim to develop life-changing pharmaceuticals and transformative technologies for diseases and conditions from front to back of the eye.​

Eyes on gene therapy

Dr. Botond Roska is seeking ways to fix genetic injustices

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A bold vision for eye care

Hear first-hand from Novartis Ophthalmology’s Worldwide Franchise Head Nikos Tripodis and Development Unit Head Dirk Sauer on how Novartis is working to address eye diseases from front to back of the eye.

Ophthalmology focus areas

Retinal diseases

We have pioneered treatments for many retinal diseases. Our focus areas include neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD), which affects an estimated 20 to 25 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of severe vision loss, as well as diabetic macular edema (DME) and retinal vein occlusion (RVO).

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Dry eye diseases

Dry eye, a multifactorial disease of the ocular surface, impacts more than 344 million patients worldwide1. Dry eye can result from a range of genetic diseases and inflammatory disorders. Patients may experience a range of often severely painful symptoms and/or impaired vision. While palliative treatments, like artificial tears, provide transient relief, we are working on novel therapies designed to address the root causes of the disorder.


Other external eye diseases, including presbyopia

We are investing in developing the first pharmaceutical treatment with potential disease-modifying activity for presbyopia, a disease that affects 85% of people over 45 years old. There are currently no disease-modifying pharmacological treatments available to reverse the loss of near-distance vision.



More than 60 million people globally are affected by glaucoma, which can lead to progressive damage of the optic nerve and may lead to blindness. Current therapies help control disease progression by lowering eye pressure. Novartis is researching neuroprotective therapies in the hope of finding a cure for this silent thief of sight.

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Gene therapy

We see cell and gene therapy as a new frontier in medicine that can enable us to transform eye care for patients suffering from a variety of rare ophthalmic diseases. Gene therapy aims to treat or prevent genetic disease by seeking to augment, replace or suppress one or more mutated genes with functional copies, for a lasting therapeutic effect.

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Ophthalmic Facts & Figures *
  • 253M

    People are visually impaired worldwide

  • 80%

    Of all vision impairment can be prevented or cured

  • 81%

    Of people living with blindness are aged 50 and above

  • 84%

    Of visual impairment results from chronic eye diseases

“Disease by disease, we’re making progress toward eliminating blindness.”
Cynthia Grosskreutz Global Head of Ophthalmology, Novartis
  1. 2016 Dry Eye Products Report, Market Scope
  2. * World Health Organization, Visual impairment and blindness - Media Centre. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs282/en/ [Accessed May 2018]