In recent years, scientists have started to investigate whether new technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Robotics could help to improve eye care. The results of some of these studies are now coming to fruition, and the results show that exciting progress is being made.
Both independent researchers and technology giants are involved in the studies, and our blog today takes a look at the latest developments.
Advances in using AI to improve disease detection are being spearheaded by Google. Their Deep Learning division have developed algorithms that can predict the risk of heart problems and diabetic retinopathy simply by scanning the eyes.
By analysing a patient’s eye, Google’s technologies can accurately detect data relating to a persons biological age, their blood pressure , and even whether they smoke. This information is then used to calculate the risk of heart disease, and has the same accuracy as more invasive techniques such as blood tests.
Their software is also improving diabetic retinopathy scanning. Photos of the retina are studied by a computer and a diagnosis is made – the system boasts the same level of performance as an experienced ophthalmologist!
Google’s research could potentially revolutionise third world eye care where a lack of trained ophthalmologists often means that diabetic retinopathy remains undiagnosed, increasing the risk of blindness.
Robotic Eye Surgery
In June it was announced that the first human trials in robotic eye surgery had been successful.
Robot assisted retinal surgery was studied in a trial that took place at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital. Twelve patients were involved in the study – half of the group were randomly allocated robot-assisted surgery, and the other half manual surgery to remove a membrane from the back of the eye.
By using a robot, the surgeon could perform the procedure with equal or better performance than by using the manual approach.
The robot was also used to insert a needle under the retina to dissolve blood in three patients suffering from age- related macular degeneration. All patients experienced an improvement in their vision as a result of the robotic surgery!
In addition, robots have been investigated for their potential in assisting with cataract surgery – a feasibility study found that:
”There are many potential advantages of robotics in cataract and eye surgery such as increased precision and manoeuvrability, tremor filtration, automation of movement, better ergonomics, improved patient access to surgeons (telesurgery), and surgical training (telementoring).”
New Laser Technologies
Like other eye treatments, Laser Eye Surgery has also progressed and next generation laser suites are now being used in premium eye clinics.
One such suite is the Bausch & Lomb Technolas Teneo 317 – an industry leading machine that is helping to make surgeries safer and more successful than ever.
It combines user comfort with advanced technological features:
- ACE Eye tracker – A new generation eye tracker that incorporates a co-axial camera designed for precision and safety.
- Iris Recognition – An iris picture is captured on a sophisticated aberrometer (Zywave). It is a thousand times more accurate than a fingerprint and ensures accurate focus of the patient’s personalised laser treatment.
- Plume Evacuator – The plume evacuation system clears out the operating field during the entire laser ablation process, making the procedure more pleasant for the patient.
- Speed – The machine is 50 % faster than other current laser suites, and only takes a few seconds to treat patients.
At AVC, we are committed to providing premium care for our patients, and purchased the Technolas Teneo 317 a number of months ago. Our customers have been delighted with the fantastic results!