Samsara Vision Names Thomas Ruggia as New Chief Executive Officer

Saratoga, CA – (July 6, 2020) — Samsara Vision a developer of advanced visual prosthetic devices for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), today announced that Thomas Ruggia has been appointed as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer, effective July 6, 2020. Mr. Ruggia leaves a Fortune 50 company to lead Samsara Vision into a new era where a broader population of older adults living with devastating forms of blindness have increased access to their innovative technology and the only FDA approved surgical treatment for macular degeneration, the telescope implant and CentraSight treatment program.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Tom to Samsara Vision. His nearly 20 years of ophthalmology business experience means he has a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the health care environment in the United States and abroad, as well as significant experience in the development and commercialization of vision products with differing regulatory and pricing structures,” said Richard Powers, Executive Vice President. “Tom brings new energy to VisionCare at a pivotal time when we are poised to expand the reach and appeal of the CentraSight treatment program.”

Before joining Samsara Vision, Mr. Ruggia spent five years at Johnson & Johnson, working at Johnson & Johnson Vision and The Janssen Pharma Co, respectively. Most recently at Johnson & Johnson Vision, he was the Vice President WW Customer Experience and Ocular Surface Disease, responsible for two global commercial teams working in customer strategy, customer service, and field technical service. At Janssen, he was the commercial strategy leader in ophthalmology assigned to an asset in development for AMD. Previously, Mr. Ruggia spent fourteen years at Alcon, a division of Novartis, working in a variety of ophthalmology sales and marketing roles with escalating responsibility. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science from The College of New Jersey in 1998.

“For nearly two decades, I’ve been fortunate through my work to witness the direct impact of introducing vision-enhancing technologies, devices, and therapies on the quality of life of people with low vision around the world,” said Mr. Ruggia. “The opportunity to lead and grow Samsara Visionto serve a broader patient candidate pool is one that I embrace. I look forward to communicating more about our plans to further develop our novel technology and introduce an enhanced delivery system that will improve the patient and provider’s surgical experience.”

Wolfgang Tolle, who most recently served as CEO and Executive Chairman of the Board, has left Samsara Vision to focus on new opportunities.

About CentraSight and the Telescope Implant
The Implantable Miniature Telescope (by Dr. Isaac Lipshitz) is indicated for monocular implantation to improve vision in patients who meet age requirements and with stable severe to profound vision impairment (best-corrected distance visual acuity 20/160 to 20/800) caused by bilateral central scotomas (blind areas) associated with End-Stage AMD.

This level of visual impairment constitutes statutory (legal) blindness. Smaller than a pea, the telescope is implanted in one eye in an outpatient surgical procedure. In the implanted eye, the device renders enlarged central vision images over a wide area of the retina to improve central vision, while the non-operated eye provides peripheral vision for mobility and orientation. The telescope implant is part of the CentraSight treatment program, which has been designed to help patients follow the necessary steps for proper diagnosis, surgical evaluation, and postoperative care.

The telescope implant is not a cure for End-Stage AMD. As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with the telescope implant. Possible side effects include decreased vision or vision-impairing corneal swelling. The risks and benefits associated with the telescope implant are discussed in the Patient Information Booklet available at and will be evaluated with each patient who might be a candidate for this study.

Patients and physicians can find more information about the telescope implant and related treatment program by visiting or calling 1-877-997-4448.

Media Contact:
Jessica Daitch
Samsara Vision