Scientists have developed an intelligent drainage device that could help patients with glaucoma – one of the leading causes of blindness in the world – to save their vision.
Glaucoma can only be treated with medications or surgical implants, both offering varying degrees of success in helping to improve vision and to reduce pressure build-up inside the eye.
Implantable glaucoma drainage devices have grown in popularity in recent years, but only half of the devices are still operational after five years because micro-organisms accumulate on the device during and after implantation. This issue is known as "biogull".
"We have created a new drainage device to combat this accumulation problem by using advances in microelectronics," said Hyowon Lee, assistant professor at Purdue University in the US.
"It is able to get rid of harmful bio-accumulation. This is a huge leap towards personalized medicine," said Lee, who led the research team.
The glaucoma drainage device is built with microactuators that vibrate when a magnetic field is inserted. Vibrations shake by weakening the biomaterials created in the tube.
"We can introduce the magnetic field outside the body at any time to give the device a refreshing essence." Our technology on demand allows a more reliable, safe and effective implant to treat glaucoma, "Lee said.
The device can vary flow resistance, which allows drainage technology to customize the treatment for each patient in different stages of glaucoma with varying degrees of pressure build-up inside the eye. – PTI