: ‘I got sick of wearing these things.’
The U-M tool uses bubbles, ultrafast optics and ultrasound to measure the thickness and rigidity of the lens during laser surgery, thus guiding the surgeon as they reshape the lens. It's a new application for microscale bubbles, which scientists have experimented with for years in the areas of drug delivery, tumor destruction and other medical applications.
For the treatment of presbyopia, the U-M team used ultrafast laser pulses to create tiny gas bubbles within the intraocular lens. Before the bubbles diffuse, researchers hit them with high frequency sound waves, which push the bubbles against neighboring lens fibers.
‘Part of the sound is reflected, and from the characteristic of the reflection, you know where the bubble is,’ O'Donnell said. ‘It uses exactly the same technology as ultrasound imaging.’
In this way, researchers measure how far the bubbles have moved based on the force applied, and thus measure the pliability of the lens.
on the force applied, and thus measure the pliability of the lens.
‘The bubbles show you where the laser should cut,’ O'Donnell said. ‘If it's still too hard, you cut some more. If it's soft enough, you stop.’
The future plan is to automate the procedure to quickly cover the entire lens with bubbles, he said. The team, which will begin testing this year, is talking with several companies about commercial opportunities.
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