On the occasion of world glaucoma week, Dr. André Mermoud of the Clinique de Montchoisi’s Glaucoma Centre, a world-renowned expert in the subject, and Prof. Nikos Stergiopulos of the EPFL’s laboratory of haemodynamics and cardiovascular technology, CEO of Rheon Medical, announce a revolutionary system to treat refractory glaucoma. Dr. Mermoud was recently awarded the CLIVE medal at the 8th International Congress on Glaucoma Surgery (ICGS) in Oman for the discovery.
There are several methods for treating glaucoma, ranging from drops and drug treatment to laser and surgery. Although these techniques work relatively well, some patients are affected by fibrosis of the drainage duct caused during the operation and known as refractory glaucoma.
To treat refractory glaucoma, Dr. Mermoud and Prof. Stergiopulos have developed a new system with a tube much smaller than those used previously, which does no damage to the cornea and fits the shape of the eye. It also incorporates an adjustable valve that can be opened and closed as necessary to regulate the flow, all without touching the eye. The principle is similar to that of a fountain pen and features a microscopic, asymmetrical wheel, 5 mm in diameter and 200 microns thick, that compresses the tube to regulate the flow.
World discovery straight from Lausanne
This invention, named eyeWatch, has been developed through collaboration between Prof. Stergiopulos, Dr. Mermoud and Dr. Adan Villamarin, founder of Rheon Medical, a spin-off of the EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne). Their first attempts date back to 2010-2011 and were followed by lengthy studies and trials to validate the total biocompatibility and sterility of the device. “We had to be absolutely certain that it would function in the eye in the long term. After all the studies had been completed successfully, SwissMedic, the Swiss agency for the authorization and supervision of therapeutic products, allowed us to implant the device on the first patient in September 2015. (The selection of patients is based on very strict criteria: only those who would lose the sight of an eye without the new treatment can be considered). Four patients have so far received the implant and are doing extremely well. We have the right – and the duty – to treat 26 more in 2016. Once 30 patients have been treated, SwissMedic should grant authorization for the implant to be brought to the market in Switzerland and very soon in Europe.”
Read the full press release.
About the specialist
FMH Specialist in ophthalmology and ophthalmic surgery