OXFORD, UK -- Surgeons at John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, have carried out the world's first internal eye operation using a robot, remotely controlling the machine to lift a membrane 100th of a millimetre thick from a patient's retina, thus setting the new world record for the World's first robotic eye surgery, according to the World Record Academy.
The Robotic Retinal Dissection Device (R2D2) is designed to mitigate against tiny tremors in surgeons' hands, which can even be caused by their pulse.
Built by Dutch medical robotics firm Preceyes BV, it has seven independent computer-controlled motors and acts like a mechanical hand. Using a joystick, a touchscreen and an operating microscope, the surgeon's movements are converted into robotic manoeuvres as precise as 1000th of a millimetre.
In this instance, Professor of Ophthalmology Robert MacLaren entered the eye of Reverend Dr William Beaver via a hole less than 1mm in diameter. The 70-year-old priest had a membrane growing on his retina that was distorting his vision. At just 100th of a millimetre thick, this membrane had to be dissected off the retina without damaging it. The operation has so far been a success and Father Beaver's vision is improving.