Vision correction now takes a non-invasive approach

Medical and tech engineers have successfully paved a non-invasive path to permanent vision correction which is so far one of the most promising in preclinical model. Femtosecond oscillator is used for localised and selective modification of the biochemical and mechanical characteristics of the corneal tissue.

The method of altering a tissue’s macroscopic geometry has fewer limitations, side-effects and completely non-surgical unlike any other refractive surgeries performed to date. The development offers treatment for astigmatism, hyperopia, myopia, irregular astigmatism and hyperopia. The new approach definitely redefines ophthalmology in Dubai and across the globe.

  • Facts

The problem of myopia or near-sightedness has increased globally and occurrence among the people now is twice as that of 50 years back. In Eastern Asia, approximately 70 to 90 percent teenagers are myopic whereas multiple studies have predicted that by 2020; more or less 2.5 billion global population would be affected by myopia.

While glasses and contact lenses are simplest solutions, corneal refractive surgery is more permanent with higher success rates but, it’s an invasive procedure subjected to various post-surgical complications including permanent vision loss in rare and extreme cases. Laser based procedures in addition such as LASIK and PRK takes on an ablative technology which thins and weakens the cornea.

A researcher at Columbia Engineering came forth with a new and non-invasive approach for permanent vision correction with promising outcomes in pre-clinical trials. The method involves femtosecond oscillator which deliver pulses of ultrafast laser at significant repetition for selective and localised modification of biomechanical and chemical properties of the corneal tissue.

The entire procedure of modifying the tissue’s macroscopic geometry is non-surgical with fewer contraindications and limitations than any other form of refractive surgeries. Take for instance patients with dry eyes, thin eyes and various eye abnormalities are forbidden from undergoing the refractive surgical procedures. This particular procedure however is sure to offer effective treatment against hyperopia, astigmatism, myopia and irregular astigmatism.

The critical approach is induction of low-density plasma which ionises the water molecules within the cornea which also creates a reactive oxygen species (an unstable oxidised molecule which reacts with other cellular molecules). Further interaction with the collagen fibrils introduces chemical bonding or crosslinking whereas selective outline of the crosslink trigger the change in mechanical characteristics of the treated corneal tissue.

When the procedure is executed, the crosslink to the corneal tissue alter properties of the collagen in the areas or regions. The final outcome is the change in overall corneal macrostructure by ionising the targeted molecules without risking optical breakdown of the corneal tissue. And since the process is photochemical, it wouldn’t disrupt any tissue nor effect the changes.

A clinical prototype with blueprints to kick-start the actual trials by end of 2018 are in the work to be introduced by end of 2018. The corneal behaviour following laser irradiation is also studied as how cornea would deform if a smaller circle or perhaps an ellipse is being treated. This would allow researchers to personalise the treatment by scanning a patient’s cornea and deploys algorithm thus bringing custom changes for improving it.

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