What Technologies Are Available?
Emerging technologies and revolutionary advancements in eyecare aim to restore vision and provide unimaginable improvement to quality of life. Top innovations related to the retina are helping to improve accuracy and efficiency not just in testing for and diagnosing retinal diseases but also for futuristic techniques that could save patients from losing their eyesight.
Advanced retinal imaging is a type of eye care technology that uses infrared, light and radio waves to digitally capture images in the eye especially as it relates to the optic nerve, blood vessels and the retina, with the potential to see over 90% of the retina, as well as under the surface of the retina with this type of detection. This unique technology can detect early stages of diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy because these conditions do not present with any outward signs or symptoms in their earliest stages. Underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure or hypertension, diabetes and some forms of cancer can also be detected through retinal imaging. Although visiting your eye care provider in person is always the best course of action, smartphone technology has expanded to retinal imaging. The future of digital retinal photography is already in your hands via your smartphone and corresponding apps but will need to be interpreted by a qualified eye care provider for thorough diagnosis and treatment options.
Fascinating technologies available in eye care for the retina also include nanotechnology, robotic-assisted microsurgery, artificial retina replacements, AI-based screening for diabetic retinopathy and retinal gene therapy. Nanotechnology allows for using devices and materials on a very small scale as gaining access to the retina due to its size and location can be challenging. Nanotechnology helps to treat retinal degeneration, measure intraocular pressure and treat choroidal vessels. Robotic-assisted microsurgery aids in a careful, steadied, precise approach to retinal surgery as the retinal tissue is delicate, transparent and nonregenerative. Artificial retinas contain electrodes that replace the natural sensors located at the back of the eye for those negatively impacted by diabetes or macular degeneration. AI-based screening for diabetic retinopathy is essentially an optimizing algorithm that examines large numbers of fundus photographs to detect diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema with a high level of accuracy. Lastly, retinal gene therapy continues to gain promise for inherited retinal diseases as well as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The treatment involves injecting a virus that contains a healthy copy of the gene that causes AMD or RP directly to the retina. The hope is that it will not only prevent vision loss but one day cure blindness.
If you would like to learn more about what technologies are available for the retina and all your eye care needs, call us today at 602-242-4928. To schedule your appointment with Associated Retina Consultants, fill out our contact form here at WEBSITE.