Clinical Study Performed at Rotterdam Eye Hospital

In the framework of the European Horizon 2020 project “EurEyeCase” partners Preceyes BV, the Medical Laser Center Lübeck, Eindhoven University of Technology and ACMIT Gmbh developed instrumentation and control techniques to improve clinical outcome for a selection of relevant and urgent vitreo-retinal procedures.

The majority of these intra−ocular interventions lie on or even beyond the boundaries of human skills as they pose extreme requirements in terms of manipulation and positioning precision. As a result, current treatments are characterized by moderate success rates and even an inability to adequately treat some common diseases. As a consequence, a large group of patients is left untreated or receives suboptimal treatment only. Robotic technology can and is likely to put an end to the current status−quo.

Of the developed robot-sensor combination, the sensor was the main topic of a clinical study taking place at Rotterdam Eye Hospital recently. This novel probe supports the surgeons with real-time distance measurement using optical coherence tomography (OCT). The measured distances are fed back to the robot controller in order to maintain a predefined safety border and also to the surgeon via audio signals, much like a car’s parking sensor. Exploiting the micrometer precision of the robot, the sensor allows the surgeon to safely approach the retina which further promises to reduce accidental tissue damage and improve retinal surgeries.

In the framework of the study, surgeons of Rotterdam Eye Hospital and Sacco Hospital Eye Clinic (IT) used the robot-sensor combination successfully in five patients in Rotterdam. ACMIT’s main contribution have been software and hardware integration of the two main sub-systems and safety evaluation of the complete setup for ethical board approval. The study has been the world’s first clinical validation of the sensor and was possible by financial support of the European Union and the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.

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