The innovation began more than three decades ago as the ophthalmic research arm of Heyer-Schulte Medical Optics Center (HSMOC), a division of American Hospital Supply Corporation. The HSMOC would later change its name to American Medical Optics and eventually to Advanced Medical Optics, or AMO, as it is known today.
The company started business in 1976 as a pioneer in the early development of intraocular lenses (IOLs) for cataract patients.
Throughout the 1980s, AMO became known as a technology company, introducing innovative new IOLs, the first U.S.-made YAG laser, and a first-generation phacoemulsification system, for the removal of cataracts. A later generation of this technology, known as the SOVEREIGN® System with WHITESTAR® technology, won the prestigious Medical Design Excellence Silver Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America in 1999 for “excellence in medical product design engineering.”
In 1986, American Medical Optics was sold to Allergan, Inc. and became known as Allergan Medical Optics.
A few years later in 1989, the company brought the first small-incision foldable IOL through the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory process. Foldable lenses were a major advance in cataract surgery because they made it possible for surgeons to insert the lens through a small incision, resulting in less trauma to the eye and faster visual recovery from cataract surgery, from months to days.
In 1997, AMO launched the Array® IOL, the first multifocal lens to be approved for commercial distribution by the FDA.
AMO became an independent company in June 2002 following a spin-off from Allergan.
In 2004, AMO introduced the Verisyse phakic IOL for treatment of moderate to severe myopia, the first lens of its kind to receive FDA approval. The company also acquired the TECNIS® and CeeOn® IOLs, the HEALON® line of viscoelastics and the BAERVELDT® glaucoma device, marking the company's entrance into the glaucoma market. The TECNIS® IOL is the first IOL with a modified prolate optic to have a claim for improved functional vision.
On May 27, 2005, AMO completed the acquisition of VISX, Incorporated, creating the world’s leading refractive surgical business, bringing together AMO’s expansive suite of cataract and refractive surgical products with VISX’s state-of-the-art laser vision correction systems.
The growth continued in 2007 with the addition of the industry’s leading wavefront diagnostic system and femotsecond laser through the acquisitions of WaveFront Sciences and IntraLase Corp., respectively.
These additions give AMO the advanced corneal refractive technologies with the ability to offer a full systems approach that is without peer in the industry.
In 2009, Advanced Medical Optics, Inc. was acquired by Abbott Laboratories. Today, AMO is now Abbott Medical Optics Inc. and operated as a separate entity within Abbott’s medical device division.