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Wavesense and Octlight collaborate on OCT for cataract surgery

17 Aug 2022

Platform based on OCT-aberrometry to be funded under Eurostars-3 program.

A research project supported by the Eurostars-3 program, the latest iteration of the EU's funding instrument for SMEs collaborating on R&D, aims to develop a new OCT platform for use during cataract surgery.

The project will involve Wavesense Engineering, the Vienna-based developer of wavefront sensing technology for ophthalmic applications; Octlight, specialists in VCSEL swept-source lasers for OCT; and the Medical University of Vienna.

One of the main aims of the device will be to significantly improve the outcome of cataract surgery. Use of advanced laser technology in cataract procedures has been a key application area for femtosecond sources in ophthalmology, but a significant portion of patients undergoing lens replacement remain dissatisfied with the outcome due to limitations of the current state of the art biometric devices.

"A multimodal ophthalmic OCT device will be developed, based on a novel and patented digital OCT-aberrometry (DOCTA) technique developed by Wavesense Engineering," commented the project. "It will for the first time provide anterior segment imaging; posterior segment imaging; and wavefront aberrometry."

Wavesense was founded in 2018 to commercialize proprietary technology combining OCT of the eye's anterior segment with aberrometry, which studies the optical quality of the visual system by analyzing how the eye's structures influence the refraction of light.

Octlight, a 2014 spin-out from the Technical University of Denmark, has developed a new swept-source technology platform based on proprietary VCSELs and wavelength-tunable lasers, intended to enhance ophthalmic OCT capabilities, particularly for retinal imaging and biometry.

Guidance during surgery

In a 2021 paper describing the optical coherence aberrometry principle, the developers indicated that it combined swept-source OCT with digital adaptive optics (DAO), in which an algorithm employs "digital lateral shearing" to extract the wavefront error during a retinal scan without needing to know the existing system parameters.

"Except for an additional collimator and beam-splitter no additional hardware was implemented, nor did digital adaptive optics cause significant computational burden for the description of ocular aberrations," said the developers in the paper.

The new project believes that a DOCTA device can enable surgeons to formulate a personalized treatment plan, customizing the design, power and axis orientation of an implanted intraocular lens for each patient once complete optical and anatomical properties of an individual eye is known.

In addition, the goal is for a DOCTA device to be used intraoperatively to guide the surgery, by measuring the relevant parameters at different stages and adapting accordingly to achieve the precise targeted surgical outcome.

DOCTA could also be incorporated into other ocular surgeries, such as keratoplasty, epi-retinal membrane peeling and retinal detachment. The developers expect it to enhance the precision of ophthalmic disease diagnosis generally, for conditions including glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

"Wavesense is pleased and honored to receive the funding by EUREKA Eurostars that can help us develop and demonstrate the full capability of our envisioned product that can potentially enhance the precision of ophthalmic disease diagnosis and surgical outcome, especially cataract, and hence contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of the patients," said Abhishek Kumar, Wavesense CEO.

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