At the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology in Baltimore, Maryland, researchers have presented the results of a study using remotely operated robots to perform eye operations. These robots were able to produce better results than traditional methods.
The researchers recruited 12 patients in need of retinal surgeries and placed them in randomized clinical trials. Of these, six underwent surgery with the robot while the other half were treated using the standard human approach. Out of the six in the manual procedure group, five experienced retinal micro-hemorrhage events. Meanwhile, the group that received robotic assistance only had two cases of such bleeding.
This robotic system can potentially pave the way for robot assistance with future medical procedures. Robots can provide steady heads and hands, which will be especially useful for clinical treatments that require precision and stability, such as those involving a controlled delivery of gene therapy and stem cells. Testing such systems by operating on eyes, which are very sensitive, yet not vital human organs, seems like an ideal step forward as we carefully tread down the path to more complicated surgeries.