Emerging retinal laser treatment promises painless precision

June 11, 2008 -- Carl Zeiss Meditec says it is working with leading scientific institutions to develop a new technology for laser treatment procedures on the retina. The new laser promises an exact dosage of laser radiation for each individual eye -- even for each treatment area within the eye -- and an end to complications such as pain and damage to surrounding tissue.

June 11, 2008 -- Carl Zeiss Meditec says it is working with leading scientific institutions to develop a new technology for laser treatment procedures on the retina. "Together with our partners, we are currently working on an optimized, low-pain treatment solution which is designed to support eye specialists in efficiently treating patients suffering from a widespread eye disease," said Carl Zeiss Meditec president and CEO Ulrich Krauss, who noted that the therapy promises to reduce treatment side effects.

The concept behind the 3-year project, which won the "Innovation Competition for the Advancement of Medical Technology," has already been successfully tested on an experimental basis. The project itself is aimed at implementing an exact dosage of laser radiation for each individual eye -- even for each treatment area within the eye -- during retinal procedures by ensuring that the laser automatically adjusts to the optimal temperature needed for a specific treatment. The new technology is used to treat widespread eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy.

Laser irradiations of the retina, so-called photocoagulations, are the most successful laser procedures in ophthalmology. Diabetic retinopathy, a common indication, causes hemorrhaging in the eye. Though laser light can re-seal the hemorrhaging blood vessels, in many instances it damages surrounding tissue and causes pain. The new laser promises an end to such complications.

Ocular thrombosis as well as age-related macular degeneration can also be treated with the new method.

According to Krauss, "the new procedure will presumably require fewer treatment stages, therefore saving additional costs."

Among the company's project partners are the Medical Laser Center Lubeck, an internationally recognized research and development institute; the Institute of Biomedical Optics of the University of Lubeck; and the Eye Clinic of the University Hospital of Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel, Germany. The research project was officially launched by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.

Earlier this year, Carl Zeiss Meditec's agreement with fiber-laser developer IMRA America prompted the latter to clarify its position.

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