The ‘incredible’ future of safer eye surgery

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Revolutionary eye-surgery technology is available for the first time in Australia, offering patients and surgeons a peek into the future – and a safer operating environment. 

Adelaide’s Tennyson Centre Day Hospital has invested in the Zeiss Artevo digital microscope, a world-first innovation that allows surgeons to visualise the eye’s delicate inner structures in 3D.

“The 3D technology is incredible – it really does feel like the future of surgery,” said cataract and refractive surgeon Dr Ben LaHood, one of the first to use the device at Tennyson when it was introduced in late January 2021. 

The Artevo 800’s 3D screen helps to reduce neck strain and fatigue for the specialists, who perform microsurgery requiring high levels of concentration and skill.

“The viewing system also allows all those assisting the surgeon to follow the procedure in 3D, and in real time,” said the private hospital’s General Manager and Director of Nursing, Lee-Anne Crew.

“This enables them to respond immediately to the surgeon and increases efficiency, whilst also providing an excellent education and training tool.”

The Artevo 800 digital microscope lets surgeons minimise the amount of light shone in patients' eyes.

The fully-integrated digital ophthalmic microscope improves depth of field and reduces light-intensity requirements to improve the surgeon’s view during procedures. 

It also enables real-time feedback on the size and shape of the eye, allowing for more accurate decision-making and supporting better patient outcomes.

“The microscope optics are superb, providing excellent resolution and remarkable depth of field even with low light intensity,” Dr LaHood said. 

“Being able to digitally brighten the image I am viewing, while keeping the light on the patient as low as possible, may help reduce drying of the ocular surface as well as potentially reduce the detrimental effects of directing bright light onto the retina for prolonged periods.”

The digital technology also helps create a safer operating environment, which has become more important due to the social-distancing requirements of the past year.

“In a COVID-19 world, digital microscopes offer an additional barrier for surgeons and patients,” said Scott Bell, Chief Operating Officer of Nexus Hospitals, which owns Tennyson Centre Day Hospital. 

“Being able to look through 3D glasses allows our surgeons to wear a full-face shield, and they don’t need to hover directly over the patient’s face during surgery. 

“Another safety advantage is that the technology allows for direct transfer of eye measurements taken in the surgeon’s consulting rooms to the operating theatre. This reduces the risk of human error, and reliance on paper charts.”

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