18th April 2011
The use of a tiny robot small enough to be injected into the eye without anaesthetic could be the next step in corrective eye surgery.
Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have been working on the device, which will help to target specific treatment within the eye, for several years. Tests have been completed on dead animals and synthetic eyes, and the research team has now said they are ready to move on to live animals and eventually human trials.
If these trials are successful, the robot, which is a small magnet, the developers say it could be used to revolutionise non-invasive corrective eye surgery.
Brad Nelson, professor of robotics and intelligent systems at the institute, said: "Our first applications are in targeted delivery, treating diseases like age-related macular degeneration or retinal vein occlusions in which we try to deliver drugs to specific locations on the retina."
Laser treatment is currently used to treat a number of eye conditions, but it can carry risks, including dryness of the eyes, and poor night vision, in some cases.
By Jeanette Royston
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