Stansberry Venture Technology publication which gives a fantastic example of how innovative markets can lead to explosive potential gains..." />
The Market-Winning Potential of a Better, Safer Eye Surgery

Editor's note: Today, we're continuing with our colleague Dave Lashmet's "unlocked" issue of Stansberry Venture Technology, originally published in 2017. This story is more technical than what we normally share in DailyWealth. But it's a fantastic example of how innovative markets can lead to explosive potential gains...

If you're lucky enough to have decent vision, you probably don't think much about your eyes every day.

But an eye has many parts... and a lot of complex functions.

At the front of your eye is the cornea. It's a transparent lens that gathers light and directs it to the back of your eye. The shape of your cornea determines how well that light is focused when it lands.

There's also a lens behind your cornea... and it moves. Muscles inside your eye bend the lens to bring objects into focus for your central vision. That helps you see in fine detail.

Prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses can "correct" for a misshapen cornea. They redirect incoming light so that it focuses correctly. But we can do even more...

There's plenty of evolving tech and medicine here – progressive lenses made from exotic materials or longer-lasting, better-fitting contact lenses. In this piece, we will cover a company that's safely re-shaping the cornea... with lasers.

You've probably heard of LASIK. Well, the laser technology we'll cover today is a revolutionary successor to LASIK. It uses a new tool and technique for a faster, safer experience... which makes for a market with big growth potential.

Let me show you what I mean...

Like LASIK, this new surgery replaces glasses or contacts. But it's not just cosmetic. For example, the military uses it for perfect vision without the logistics nightmare of wearing glasses.

To explain the differences between LASIK and this new surgery, let's start with the anatomy of the cornea. Both surgeries target this part of the eye. But one big difference lies in how to reach the cornea.

As you can see in the picture below, your cornea has three layers separated by two super-thin boundaries...

What you can see in this diagram are the three main layers:

  1. A thin outer layer composed of epithelial cells (basically skin cells) and some nerve cells,
  1. A thick middle layer filled with collagen and collagen-producing cells, plus some immune cells,
  1. Followed by a thin inner layer of endothelial cells (like capillary cells), but no other blood vessels...

See, even though there are living cells in your cornea, they get oxygen from the tears that bathe your eye. That's because blood is not transparent. Any blood in front of your retina would get in the way of your vision.

So evolution found a way for your eye to react to touch (nerves) and to receive oxygen (blinking). And if it took millions of years to evolve something... it's probably best not to smash it.

Unfortunately, that's the drawback to LASIK... and why we're so excited about a new, better procedure...

A LASIK laser fries the first surface it encounters. That's why in a LASIK procedure, a doctor must first peel back the front of your cornea before using a laser to reshape the collagen-rich stroma layer, and then fold the flap over your eye.

But if light could pass through the outer layer without burning it, you wouldn't have to cut the outermost layer of the cornea.

So you wouldn't have a fragile flap that can shear off... And you'd never get dry eye from cutting the nerves that ask your eyelid to blink.

To do that, you'd need a laser that can stop its energy where it's needed. You'd need a laser that can take advantage of "Einstein's last secret" (as we covered yesterday)...

Fortunately, this exact device has been invented...

The new procedure is called SMILE. (Editor's note: At the time of Dave's original recommendation in 2017, SMILE was just hitting U.S. vision centers, treating the first U.S. customers.)

This method is already FDA-approved. So, unlike a lot of Venture Technology picks, we don't have to guess what the FDA thinks... It already told us.

We think SMILE will trigger a revolution in cosmetic eye surgery because it safely reshapes the cornea. It only needs a small (2 mm) incision to pull out a disc of extra collagen. SMILE stands for "small incision lenticule extraction," where a "lenticule" is the disc of excess material you cut from the cornea – so that the rest of your cornea gives you perfect vision. The incision heals within days.

This surgery has been approved in Europe since 2011. Since then, surgeons have performed more than 750,000 SMILE surgeries globally in 62 countries through mid-2017.

And during that time, we've seen that the positive effects are the same as LASIK. It's the same level of vision correction, and it lasts just as long. But LASIK has more potential side effects, including more cases of severe dry eye and lost eye sensitivity.

SMILE is a premium, expensive procedure... So even though it's faster and safer than LASIK, it won't immediately take over the market. But compared with any other cosmetic surgery, it's cheap. And it's bound to be popular.

As I hinted earlier, the U.S. military is buying the machines that make this possible. (It's cheaper for the government to pay for a SMILE procedure than to deliver prescription lenses to everywhere in the world we send our troops, including active combat zones.) Elite cosmetic eye surgery clinics are buying in, too. And this technology will spread as it's introduced across the U.S.

Right now, U.S. surgeons perform about 650,000 LASIK procedures annually. So if SMILE wins half this total market – including military recruits who wear glasses – this could mean 325,000 procedures per year.

Again, because doctors completed 750,000 SMILE surgeries globally since 2011, we can see there is proven demand.

The company behind all this is Carl Zeiss Meditec (AFX.DE)... It's a European public company that is majority-owned by Zeiss Group, a 174-year-old industrial giant headquartered in Germany, with 30,000 global employees. And it has the first-mover advantage in this field.

Zeiss Meditec is a profitable, growing, dividend-paying firm. It has taken steps into multiple areas of the medical-devices field. For now, though, we are recommending Zeiss Meditec for its SMILE laser surgery tool... to profit from Einstein's last secret.

Good investing,

Dave Lashmet

Editor's note: Subscribers who followed Dave's advice on Zeiss Meditec are still holding today, with gains of 178%. But now, he's on to a much bigger opportunity. A wave of new drugs is on the way, fighting a disease that kills roughly 5 million people a year... And three tiny stocks could each soar as high as 1,000% if they capture even a sliver of this new market. This is the first time Dave has predicted three 10-baggers at once in his 20-year career – so make sure you watch his presentation here.

Further Reading

"Even experienced biotech investors don't understand this yet," Dave writes. Developing pills is less than half of the business of modern medicine. And that means owning this type of stock is a major advantage for investors today... Learn more here: Any Serious Biotech Investor Should Own This Type of Company.

Major advances in biotech rely on science and engineering. That's why knowing the next big development in the medical field can give you a major advantage as an investor... For more on the best aspects of a small-cap biotech stock, read more here: The 'Magic' Behind Every Successful Blockbuster Drug.

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Market Notes


Today, we're looking at a company with a "shock proof" business model...

As regular readers know, utility companies are some of the safest investments you can make. No matter what's going on in the world, folks still need water, gas, and electricity in their homes. For that reason, utilities generally deliver steady, reliable performance – and often strong dividends, too. Take today's company, for example...

Fortis (FTS) is a $20 billion electric and gas company serving more than 3 million customers across the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. Fortis' essential service has kept it strong throughout the pandemic... The company made $355 million in the most recent quarter – up 14% from the same time last year. Fortis has also raised its dividend for 47 consecutive years and plans another annual 6% increase through 2025.

As you can see, FTS shares are up more than 60% over the past three years, and they just hit a fresh all-time high. While they sold off with the rest of the market last March, investors quickly realized that as long as folks depend on Fortis to power their homes, this business should remain steady...