Japanese researchers develop miniaturized imaging probes for intraocular use during eye surgery

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To provide a better view of difficult to see tissue, Japanese researchers have miniaturized an imaging probe to fit inside a needle that can be inserted into the eye during eye surgery. The probe was used without complications in three human patients, as described in an article published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (IOVS).

The paper, Development of a fiber-optic probe for optical coherence tomography for intraocular use, highlights two strengths of the needle-sized probe over other types of surgical instruments.

First, unlike hand-held instruments, the images via probe are generated during surgery to provide real-time information to surgeons. Second, the miniaturized probe can easily scan more of the eye's interior than microscope-based instruments.

The new technology "demonstrated the precise tissue abnormality objectively during surgery, which means the quality of surgery will become better for the patient," said author Hiroko Terasaki, MD, PhD, of Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine.

Future work will involve improving image resolution and further shrinking of the probe to fit into even smaller needles.

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