An Israeli scientist at Tel Aviv University has developed a new optical fiber that can seal incisions in the eye without using stitches.
The procedure will radically change the way cornea transplants are performed, cutting short the long, drawn-out painful recovery period.
Professor Avraham Katzir, head of the Applied Physics Group at the university’s School of Physics and Astronomy, suggested a new technique called “temperature-controlled laser bonding” for use in sealing the incisions in eye surgery. The technique is described in a recent issue of the Journal of Biomedical Optics.
Using optical fibers made of silver halides to deliver an infrared laser beam, the surgeon can carefully heat spots on the edges of an incision where an infrared detector helps monitor the temperature, keeping it between 140 to 150 degrees Farenheit. This creates a strong bond without causing thermal damage, according to the researchers.
Katzir has already received approval to conduct experiments with the procedure on live animal models.
Medical science is moving towards the least invasive model, he says. This technique can be used – and he has tried it – in endoscopic surgery as well. Using thin and flexible optical fibers inserted through the endoscope to facilitate laser bonding within the body, healing is faster and more successful, with “almost no scar tissue.”
There is a broad future ahead for this technique, Katzir pointed out. Fiber optic laser surgery can be used in endless applications.