During Retina Subspecialty Day at the 2019 AAO meeting, Jean-Pierre Hubschman, MD, spoke on the growth and opportunity of robotics for the field of ophthalmology, noting that “the human body presents some limited performances and during traditional eye surgery [surgeons] still rely on limited feedback, limited spatial resolution, and depth perception.”
Three types of robotic surgery are in development for ophthalmic surgeons: handheld smart tools, co-manipulation programs, and fully automated systems.
Current uses of these developments span national and international areas. Handheld smart tools include robotics that can control hand tremors. In Belgium, a co-manipulation program is being tested for retinal vein cannulation, and UCLA is testing a fully automated system for cataract surgery. The hope for retinal surgery is use of a system with semiautomated capability.
Dr. Hubschman concluded, “Robotic surgery is still in its infancy in ophthalmic surgery, but we believe it will provide super-human capabilities and improve our surgical outcomes, and potentially open the door for new tissue manipulation.”
Hubschman JP. Toward robotic vitreoretinal surgery. Presented at: American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting; Oct. 11-15, 2019; San Francisco.