|21 January 2017|

England/Holland

In December eye surgeons at an Oxford hospital used a tiny robot to treat a patient.

Robert MacLaren, Professor of Ophthalmology, used a robotic retinal dissection device – or R2D2 – to insert the robot into a patients eye to treat a subretinal haemorrhage. The patient was the first to undergo this procedure with robotic assistance. It also was the first robot-assisted eye surgery ever to be performed under local anesthesia.

Professor MacLaren used the PRECEYES Surgical System, PRECEYES is a company which develops innovative robotic tools for use by eye surgeons.

Robert MacLaren said: “We have successfully entered the next phase of the R2D2 clinical trial and used the robot to inject a drug slowly under the retina in a patient who suffered a retinal bleed. The operation was performed successfully under local anaesthetic without any complications. It is still early days, but we hope this milestone brings us closer to our eventual goal of using robotic surgery to deliver gene therapy and stem cell treatments for currently incurable retinal diseases.”

Professor Marc de Smet, MD, Chief Medical Officer of Preceyes added: “This new milestone is an important next step in a process of breakthrough innovation for Preceyes. We have previously shown in live animals that targeted drug delivery to the sub-retinal space as well as successful cannulation of small retinal vessels are possible using the Preceyes platform. The current surgery confirms both precision and stability of our platform for a prolonged deliberate injection under local anesthesia in humans. This demonstrates that our technology enables to perform these high-precision drug delivery treatments in the eye.”