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What lies ahead for refractive surgery?

26 August 2016

What does the future hold for cataract and refractive surgery, and ophthalmology in general? The seeds of many developments have already sprouted, offering a glimpse of changes that could transform the field over the next 10 to 20 years.

“With new technology it’s very rare that you have a completely new, disruptive change, it’s more like a continuous process,” said Pablo Artal PhD, Director of the Centre for Research in Optics and Nanophysics and the Laboratory for Optics at the University of Murcia, Spain.

He believes that much near-term progress in ophthalmic instruments and devices will involve more sophisticated applications of existing diagnostic technology including optical coherence tomography, intraoperative aberrometry and adaptive optics.

Other developing technologies likely to reshape ophthalmic surgery include true accommodating intraocular lenses, minimally invasive glaucoma surgery and femtosecond laser platforms, said ESCRS President David J Spalton FRCS, FRCP, FRCOphth.

He is a consultant ophthalmologist at Parkside Hospital, London, UK, author of the highly regarded Atlas of Clinical Ophthalmology, and actively supports ophthalmic research in the UK.

On the far horizon are prospects for pharmaceutical cataract treatment and a world of potential genetic and stem cell regeneration technologies, especially for paediatric ophthalmology, as well as better understanding of the pathophysiology of many eye diseases, Dr Spalton said.

“These are interesting times,” he added.



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