Thank you, Brian, and good afternoon everyone. I will begin our discussion with an overview of Q3 performance highlights, and then we'll spend a few minutes addressing ICL growth, particularly in China, clinical trial update and profitability. Deborah will then review key third quarter financial results before we open the call for your questions.
During Q3, we achieved a number of milestones for the company. We were pleased to deliver a profitable quarter with $0.03 positive earnings per share and approximately $3.1 million in positive cash flow from operations. We achieved record revenue and gross profit for the quarter, while benefiting from planned expense management and a shift in marketing expense for our Experts Meeting and ESCRS to the fourth quarter. Top line results include record ICL sales and record ICL units with Canada units up 200%, China units up 76%, Japan units up 48%, Germany units up 28% and Global Distributors units up 22% over the prior year quarter. China's demand was especially strong as the third quarter encompasses the largest procedure volume of the year in China.
As we’ve expanded our business substantially in China, the largest refractive surgery market globally, we now will be planning for greater revenue in Q3 than in previous years.
Our first-in-man clinical trial for the next generation ICL with EDOF is nearing completion and the results continue to meet intended outcomes. We plan to begin our pivotal clinical trial during the first quarter of 2018 to evaluate the performance of an EDOF optic design to treat Presbyopia on the approved EVO Visian Implantable Collamer Lens platform. With regard to FDA remediation, we completed our internal work in the first quarter of 2017 and notified the FDA in March that we are ready for inspection. I’d like to focus today on growth of the ICL business in China. We set out in early 2016 to forge a new path into the largest refractive market in the world with partners who have similar growth goals and a very strong commitment to delivering excellent patient vision care. China's refractive market is estimated to encompass approximately 900,000 refractive procedures per year, which represents 35% of the total global refractive procedure market according to Market Scope's 2016 survey. In order to build confidence and trust in EVO Visian ICL technology as a premium and primary refractive procedure, we launched extensive surgeon training programs focusing on leading refractive clinics in Tier 1 cities in China. The training encompass broad certification criteria with an emphasis on long-term safety. We established three national University training centers in 2016 to accomplish our goal and many university professors and surgeons are now pleased to address their confidence in EVO's long-term safety and effectiveness at national and regional congresses in China and abroad. Today Chinese surgeons express their pry to us upon reaching EVO ICL mastery status, which is implanting a minimum of 500 lenses per year.
Our sales growth has primarily been driven through commercially focused large ophthalmic hospitals and clinics We established our initial strategic partnership agreement with Aier Hospital Group in January of 2016, which now operates close to 200 clinics in China and performs approximately 200,000 refractive procedures annually. Recently they announced their acquisition of a large European refractive surgery provider Baviera, and have established their first clinical ownership in the U.S. They’ve partnered with STAAR in essential training, extensive marketing and clinical research into lower diopter use of the ICL. Together with our experienced importer partner we support leading refractive clinics in China in the organization and execution of patient education roadshow programs, which are enabled through social media such as WeChat.
While we are educating hundreds of roadshow attendees, an excellent educational in-person venues, thousands of potential visual freedom patients are streaming the event to their mobile devices. We support our partners with data supported content to help assure appropriate positioning of our EVO ICL technology. When we began this pursuit in 2016, the EVO was in addition to the presentation of additional refractive options for patients. Today with our partners, the patient education roadshows and live streaming events are most often exclusive to EVO ICL technology.
Our business in China has grown by over 200% in the past 21 months.
Our goal is to continue this strong growth trajectory and we are planning to expand our footprint in China with people and program investment in the coming years. In all of the top markets we serve, we are gearing up to expand the business model we’ve successfully rolled out in China by retooling our global go-to-market strategy to aid in this expansion of necessary resources.
We have recently split our global commercial operations responsibility in three major buckets. Commercial operations covering China and the direct markets in Europe, commercial operations covering Korea, India and the direct markets of Japan and North America, and distributor operations covering the rest of Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the rest of Asia-Pacific.
We are intensifying our support of our largest distribution partners where we have significant STAAR investment and are improving our distributor partnerships as well globally.
We are especially pleased with the recent growth of our European distributors at 22% versus prior year quarter.
In addition, we will continue the emphasis on ICL expansion in Japan and Canada direct markets, which are reaping strong returns and have encouraging growth trajectories. Overall, we are pleased with results from the premium and primary repositioning of the EVO Visian ICL and we will use this approach as a major way we market to surgeons and consumers in our planning for 2018 to 2020.
Turning to clinical and regulatory affairs requirements for 2018 and beyond, we have a long list of initial clinical trials post-approval clinical studies and essential regulatory requirements to support our expanding product offering.
During the first quarter of 2018, we plan to launch our pivotal clinical trial in Europe to seek the CE Mark for the EVO Visian ICL lenses designed for the treatment of presbyopia.
We will benefit from the experience of patients implanted with this lens during the first-in-man clinical trial and are pleased that the design is finalized for these lenses. It is the patient experience with the performance of the presbyopic visual optic enabled through extended depth of field technology that we will be measuring most acutely. The safety of the EVO Visian ICL has been well established for the myopic patient so the effectiveness of the visual optic for presbyopia and patient satisfaction are paramount in this trial.
We are pleased that in September, our notified body in the European Union DEKRA approved an expanded age range for our EVO Visian ICL for myopia from adults aged 21 to 45 years old to adults aged 21 to 60-year-old, which sets the stage well for addressing the early years of presbyopia. We hope to complete the clinical trial in 2018 and if successful to seek approval for presbyopic ICLs in 2018 for CE Mark countries.
With the commencement of the clinical trial and regulatory requirements associated with new product studies and registrations, we anticipate that expenses will increase and will require well-managed investment going forward. We've included these necessary costs in our planning for the 2018 to 2020 planning period. We achieved profitability for STAAR Surgical in Q3 and it was most welcome.
Our top line growth exceeded expectations by over $2 million and expenses were substantially lower than Q3, 2016 due to careful expense management, no accelerated stock-option expenses experienced in the prior year and the movement of the Experts Meeting and ESCRS to the October timeframe, which was of course dictated by the ESCRS. We’ve established our base business cost profile over the past two years in most of our functional areas and appreciate our investors patience with the transformative spending requirements of the 2015 to 2017 3-year plan.
We have substantially completed our 3-year strategic planning for 2018 to 2020. We plan to responsibly increase investment in commercial infrastructure, clinical studies, and regulatory requirements.
We also plan to selectively expand our commercial outreach to consumers who remain largely unaware of the benefits of the EVO Visian ICL, an their opportunity for visual freedom. Ultimately our goal is to increase revenue through a projected range of 15% to 20% annually, which should yield very good bottom line results. We're also aiming for sustained profitability to be achieved during the planning period.
We will provide more color during our Investor Day presentation on November 16. That concludes my prepared remarks for this afternoon. Deborah?