Latest in robotic human eye surgery

First-in-human study of the safety and viability of intraocular robotic surgery was published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the work of the EurEyeCase team with the Preceyes robot.
"Twelve patients at the John Radcliffe Hospital took part in the two-year trial which is the first of its kind.  Surgeons at the hospital in Headington carried robot-assisted eye surgery on six of the patients, while the other six underwent standard manual surgery.  According to the team's findings, the robot was able to perform the surgery as effectively as the most highly trained retinal surgeons.  Doctors have now said the results 'extend the boundaries' of what can currently be achieved in retinal surgery.  The trial was carried out by the University of Oxford, supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Oxford Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) and the results published in Nature Biomedical Engineering.  The dozen patients had surgery to remove a membrane from the back of the eye, during the first part of the trial.  While in the second phase, the team used the robot to insert a fine needle under the retina to dissolve blood in three patients who had age-related macular degeneration.  All patients experienced an improvement in their vision as a result.  Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Oxford, Robert MacLaren, said: “This is a huge leap forward for delicate and technically difficult surgery, which in time should significantly improve the quality and safety of this kind of operation.  “The trial also showed that the robot has great potential for extending the boundaries of what we can currently achieve.  “Our next step will be to use the robotic surgical device for precise and minimally traumatic delivery of a gene therapy to the retina, which will be another first-in-man achievement and is set to commence in early 2019.”  The team have been working for a number of years to reach this point with Oxford University signing an agreement in 2016 with Dutch medical robotics firm Preceyes to test the robotic surgical system.  A team led by eye surgeon and researcher professor Robert MacLaren then began the human clinical trials using the Preceyes Surgical System.  As a result, in 2016 William Beaver became the first person in the world to undergo robotic eye surgery in an operation conducted at the John Radcliffe Hospital.  The operation used the remotely controlled robot to dissect a membrane 100th of a millimetre thick, which was distorting his vision, off the retina of his right eye.  The operation is considered a very demanding procedure for a surgeon to do safely by hand."

Source: Oxford Times, Nature BME, HVG

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