Eye surgeries require extreme precision, and are challenging procedures for the surgeon. As ophthalmologists get older, hand tremors become more common and can result in an additional risk to the patient.
Thijs Meenink, a PhD researcher at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in Netherlands, has developed an eye-surgery robot designed to increase the precision of the procedure and eliminate hand tremors, according to a university press release. Meenink plans to eventually commercialise the system. There are not yet any eye surgery robots on the market, according to the press release.
The robot consists of a master and slave. The master was developed by Ron Hendrix during an earlier PhD project. Meenink developed the slave, two robot arms that copy the movements of the master and carry out the operation. The instruments on the robot arms have a diameter of only 0.5 mm. Eye surgery can require many instrument changes, and the device’s instrument changer allows for the process to take place in only a few seconds.
Each centimetre of movement on the master is translated into a movement of only one millimetre on the slave. The master also provides haptic feedback, which is not available during conventional eye surgery because the forces used are too small. An additional benefit of the robot is the ability for the surgeon to sit down during surgery, instead of bending down over the patient.
Marc de Smet, Ophthalmologist Professor and one of Meenink’s PhD supervisors, said: “Robotic eye surgery is the next step in the evolution of microsurgery in ophthalmology, and will lead to the development of new and more precise procedures.”Camilla Andersson