The Eyes for Life programme will augment the capabilities of ocular healthcare by enabling early detection and treatment of eye pathologies at the cellular level, and by providing situation-aware vision-augmentation capabilities to all
Eyes for Life: Warn, Maintain, Enhance
Lyndon da Cruz
Ophthalmology has benefitted greatly from advances in engineering progress with microscopes, lasers, artificial lenses and other implants as well as the ever-smaller surgical tools that allow clinicians to perform micro-precise interventions. Despite these already existing synergies between engineering and ophthalmology, the advent of new cellular and molecular level treatments such as stem cell therapies and gene therapies mean that once again new and innovative engineering solutions are required.
“Despite the undeniable unique characteristics of every part of the human eye and its diverse biological properties, the engineering solutions that can quantify, process and analyse clinically-acquired ophthalmologic signals share fundamental similarities. Further, the micro-manufacturing expertise that is necessary to create dexterous tools to deliver state-of-the-art therapeutics, developed by the clinical and biomedical partners, permeate all aspects of ophthalmology. A coherent group of engineers embedded within the environment of Moorfields Eye Hospital can deliver the engineering infrastructure and research capability that will support and advance all aspects of ocular research.”
Moorfields Eye Hospital
Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is the leading provider of eye health services in the UK and a world-class centre of excellence for ophthalmic research and education. We have a reputation, developed over two centuries, for providing the highest quality of ophthalmic care. Our 1,800 staff are committed to sustaining and building on our pioneering legacy and ensuring we remain at the cutting edge of developments in ophthalmology.
Sight is the primary means of sensing the world and of increasing importance in this digital age. With a strong engineering underpinning, this flagship project creates the fundamental tools to assist clinicians in imaging, accessing, and healing every part of the eye advancing our capabilities to intervene and react even at the cellular level.
Binocular OCT - Reinventing the Eye Examination
Non invasive mapping of the retinal vasculature can now also be captured with optical coherence tomography (OCT). This image illustrates the radial peripapillary vascular network, as well as the fine blood vessels on the surface of the optic disc. The latest commercially-available OCT systems uses longer wavelength light sources to allow for enhanced depth penetration. This image was captured with a 1050 nm light source, allowing visualisation of the choroid and sclera underneath the retina, and the area around the optic nerve head. High resolution cross-sectional imaging of a normal retina using optical coherence tomography (OCT). OCT imaging has an axial resolution of ~5 µm and so is very well suited to visualizing the multi-layered architecture of the human retina. As a result, it is sometimes referred to as “in vivo clinical biopsy”. Perhaps just as importantly, OCT imaging is quick, non-invasive, and safe.
Implanted Bionic Retinas
Implanted bionic retina. Each node causes the stimulation of the underlying nerves, replicating a “vision” sensation to the patient’s brain.
Snake-like robots for vitreoretinal interventions
Summary: Flexible micro-grippers may enable the reach of peripheral retinal regions and the approach of scar tissue under optimal orientations.
Above: Example of a flexible tool that can approach retinal tissue under any orientation, thus enabling easier pick-up, manipulation, and dissection.