top of page

Katalyst Surgical: A Storied Journey

Today, Katalyst is the face of Retina surgical instrument development. However, many do not know about the brand’s modest early days. Learn more about the Katalyst history below, including what inspired the famous Katalyst logo, along with some of Katalyst Scheller’s favorite Developments throughout the years.

Then and Now

Synergetics Group Photo.jpg

Coming from humble beginnings, Katalyst’s history dates back to 1985, where founder Gregg Scheller created the Advanced Surgical Products brand with just 2 partners. The first ASP model was introduced later that year and was the invention of the first disposable light pipe for Retina surgical endoillumination. This first prototype was produced in 1985 on a kitchen table. A few years later, in 1990, the manufacturer produced over 180,000 lightpipes on an annual basis. This supplied the entirety of the industry, including the Storz, Alcon, and Grieshaber brands.


Today, when Retina Surgeons all over the world think of the Katalyst brand, they think of surgical innovation — and rightly so. Katalyst now produces many different models that deliver strong surgical performance and offer a variety of unique performance and ergonomic design features that distinguish the Katalyst brand.

Key Sales and Marketing Team at AAO, circa 1996

Katalyst Logo History

While today the Katalyst logo is a badge of innovation, it was originally based on the “Coat of Arms of Gregg Scheller’s career” The inspiration for the logo was due to the fact that the Katalyst pyramid logo was created during the creation of Scheller’s third Surgical venture. Besides ASP, Scheller also founded Synergetics and Katalyst.


Scheller Invention History


ASP disposable lightpipe:

Produced 3X the amount of light from the same lightsource as compared to the previous lightpipes, allowing surgeons an amazing view of the inside of the eye

Synergetics Subretinal Surgical Instruments:

The first “double-actuator” handle replacing the lever actuated Grieshaber products. Matt Thomas, MD developed the tips with Scheller to address Histoplasmosis, but the reality of potential surgery for AMD took the product viral.

Synergetics Membrane Scraper:

Shortly after the discovery of the ILM, and it’s role in macular hole creation, Scheller worked with Yasuo Tano, MD and the Tano membrane scraper was brought to market

Synergetics Directional Laser Probe:

The first “articulating” laser-delivery probe, again focused on small-gage surgery. This product allowed the laser probe to enter through entry-site cannulas and then assume a surgeon-controlled curve, allowing laser energy to reach previously difficult places in the eye. This Scheller development was in
cooperation with Gene De Juan, MD and the MADLAB at John’s Hopkins. This patented device has been cited now hundreds of time in other surgical inventions




Thomas Subretinal Forceps.png
Directional Patent Drawing.png

Synergetics Photon Lightsource:

The first “short-arc” Xenon lamp in a surgical lightsource, ushering in small fibers and magnificent light levels, making small-gage surgery possible, multifunction (lit) instruments, and also Chandeliers for the first time. This Scheller development was done with Carl Awh, MD, and with a special emphasis on Phototoxicity understanding by David Chow, MD.



Katalyst 3D-printed basket handles:

This is the first mass-market use of 3D printing technologies for use in microsurgical instrument actuation handles.  The result of using this modern technology is a high-performance Retina instrument.  It is highly responsive to the surgeon’s movement, has no “dead space’ where most instrument allow movement of the handle before the tip, keeping the surgeon’s hands in maximum tension while peeling, and displays a soft squeeze force.

3D printed handle.png


Katalyst Stiff-shafted technology:

Most competitors have simply shortened the shafts of their instruments to create the illusion of a stiffer shaft.  Katalyst technology creates a retractable 19g stiffener around the outside of the instrument shaft, that makes the working lengths the same, but provides 19g stiffness to 25 and 27g instruments.


Many new innovative inventions are in the research and development stage. 


For a complete listing of nearly 350 patentable inventions, please click here.

More are being added weekly. 


Katalyst Awh MVP:

Katalyst has worked with world-renowned surgeon, Carl Awh, MD, and has created an entirely new way to remove ILM/ERM, without forceps.  It is a novel instrument and technique, that work hand-in-hand, with the goals of more accurate and more efficient membrane removal from the surface of the Retina.

Stiffening Sleeve Pic.PNG
Stiff MVP LOGO.jpg
bottom of page