Schwind eye-tech-solutions has received funding for a new research project aimed at developing an ophthalmic laser system with ultra-short laser pulses, according to a company announcement.
More than 1.6 million euros will be invested initially by Schwind in basic research, of which about 52% will come from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
The BMBF is assisting Schwind and its project partner, the Ruhr Universität Bochum (RUB) University Eye Hospital, Bochum, Germany, in their efforts to expand laser vision correction to more individuals through its "KMU-Innovativ" initiative.
Specifically, the focus of the project is on a feasibility study for the development of an ophthalmic laser system with ultra-short laser pulses. The laser system is designed to make the Laser Induced Refractive Index Change (LIRIC) procedure safe, effective, and long-lasting for ametropic patients.
The primary innovation of LIRIC is its non-invasive, non-surgical approach. To date, laser correction procedures for visual deficiencies remove tissue to change the refractive power of the cornea.
LIRIC, in contrast, corrects refractive errors using local modification of optical qualities of the cornea: a Laser-Induced Refractive Index Change. The goal of LIRIC is to treat high order aberrations, presbyopia, as well as common refractive problems like myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism.
A study in the international peer-reviewed journal Ophthalmology has found that more than 50% of the world's population will be affected by visual deficiencies, in particular myopia, in the year 2050 . This percentage was only 23% in 2000. Even ametropic patients who previously were unable to undergo laser correction—for instance, because their corneas are too thin or too curved—is suitable for LIRIC.
The eye laser system is being developed by Thomas Wendler, Head of Research and Development at Schwind. The University Eye Hospital at RUB is planning and carrying out a customized preclinical study with hydrogel and ex vivo animal eyes to analyze and validate the effectiveness and safety of the LIRIC method under the direction of Prof. Dr. med. Stephanie Joachim.
Prof. Dr. med Burkhard Dick, Director of the RUB University Eye Hospital, says his team is "very much looking forward to the challenge of helping to launch a new, safe procedure that will in the medium term make laser eye surgery suitable for significantly more patients than before. Schwind's technological innovations coupled with our comprehensive expertise and experience in the development and conduct of preclinical as well as clinical studies provides the best possible framework for successful project implementation."
1. Collaborative project: Non-invasive, non-surgical correction of refractive errors using ultra-short laser pulses. Funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Field of action: "Health economy" in the health research framework programme, funding code 13GWO585A.
2. Holden BA, Fricke TR, Wilson DA, Jong M, Naidoo KS, Sankaridurg P, Wong TY, Naduvilath TJ, Resnikoff S. Global Prevalence of Myopia and High Myopia and Temporal Trends from 2000 through 2050. Ophthalmology. 2016 May;123(5):1036-42.