Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UCI eye doctors invent laser-assisted cornea-transplant surgery

04.05.2005


New technique can replace handheld blades and speed recovery time



A UC Irvine ophthalmologist and his team have invented a new laser-surgery technique to perform cornea-transplant surgery that can replace the use of traditional handheld surgical blades and potentially improve recovery time for patients.

The technique was developed by Dr. Roger F. Steinert, director of cornea, refractive and cataract surgery in UCI Health Sciences. Cornea transplants are performed on the “front window” of the eye, using living tissue from donors to replace corneas in which swelling, scars, distortions and degenerations are causing blindness. The work will be presented today at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology meeting, the largest eye research meeting in the world, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.


The work will lead to human application of the high-tech procedure. Clinical trials are expected to begin by this summer at UCI.

While most transplants are successful in providing the patient with a clear cornea, the majority of cornea transplants take more than six months to provide good vision, and even then strong glasses or contact lenses are needed. In addition, stitches usually need to stay in place for years, because the cornea is slow to heal and, as a result, the transplant remains a weak spot, vulnerable to injury for the rest of the patient’s life. After the laser-based transplant, suture removal may be as soon as three months, and the strength of the repaired area may be nearly 10 times that of conventional transplants.

“By using the laser, a highly precise incision is created, resulting in a perfect match of the donor and the patient,” said Steinert, a professor of ophthalmology in the School of Medicine. “In addition to precision that exceeds anything that can be duplicated by even a highly skilled surgeon, the laser can create complex shapes that are impossible to achieve with conventional surgery.”

The study compared the results of conventional transplant surgical techniques to the results of the laser surgery. Utilizing 14 donated human corneas that were not medically suitable for transplantation, Steinert and his team performed simulated transplant surgery and then tested for the mechanical strength of the incisions and for induced distortion.

They found that the initial strength of the laser incision, even before any healing, measured almost seven times higher than that of the incision from the usual transplant technique performed by hand.

The laser used to cut the cornea is known as a femtosecond-pulsed laser, manufactured by Irvine-based IntraLase Corp. The laser fires 15,000 pulses per second, each pulse lasting only 400 quadrillionths of a second. (To understand how brief each laser pulse lasts, in one second a pulse of light would travel around the equator of the Earth seven times, but in one femtosecond a pulse of laser travels only the width of three human hairs.)

The location of the pulses in the cornea to create the incision is controlled by sophisticated optics and a computer, so that each pulse interconnects with the next, similar to the perforations in paper sheets that allow the paper to be torn cleanly.

As many as 40,000 cornea transplants are performed each year in the United States. The most common reasons for this procedure are swelling, clouding after damage from other eye diseases – a distortion known as keratoconus – and scarring after injuries or infections.

Co-workers on this project included Dr. Ronald Kurtz, associate professor of ophthalmology at UCI and co-inventor of the laser; Dr. Melvin Sarayba, project director at IntraLase, and Dr. Theresa Ignacio, a UCI research fellow. Steinert also is a professor of biomedical engineering and vice chair of clinical ophthalmology at UCI.

About the University of California, Irvine: Celebrating 40 years of innovation, the University of California, Irvine is a top-ranked public university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Founded in 1965, UCI is among the fastest-growing University of California campuses, with more than 24,000 undergraduate and graduate students and about 1,400 faculty members. The second-largest employer in dynamic Orange County, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $3 billion.

Tom Vasich | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uci.edu
http://www.today.uci.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator
23.02.2018 | University of Turku

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>