Robotic eye surgeons?

Like many of you, I am a big fan of science fiction movies- Iron Man, Star Wars and Passengers, all of which show the potential future of robots in our lives. Modern day surgery already uses robotics. However, unlike what the title of this article suggests, for the foreseeable future, robots will still need a skilled surgeon to guide them.

While the machines used in Laser cataract surgery do not look like our typical science fiction idea of a robot, it is a robot in the ways that count. These laser machines under surgeon guidance perform some of the previously manual parts of cataract surgery. These important steps include the circular opening into the main body of the cataract and the initial fragmentation of the cataract. Using a laser machine increases the accuracy of the opening and reduces heat stress to the eye during surgery.

I am hopeful that Laser cataract surgery is only the beginning of increasing automation of common eye procedures. It may eventually make me obsolete but if it means better outcomes for my patients, then I welcome it.

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