Better quality of life and lower costs: Zurich firm Ophthorobotics is building a robot able to administer high-precision injections into the eye.
If left untreated, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can cause total blindness. As the name indicates, AMD is a disease from which, for demographic reasons, more and more people will end up suffering. Ophthalmologists treat it with medication which is injected into the eye in multiple sessions. Materials research is in full swing, and now there is also a project to improve administration. “High-precision routine procedures are simply made to be automated,” according to Franziska Ullrich of the Institute of Robotics and Intelligent Systems at ETH Zurich. Together with two ophthalmologists, she and her colleagues are developing an injection system designed to help doctors while reducing the risk to patients. The economic potential is enormous: “Every year,” Franziska Ullrich states, “90,000 injections to treat AMD are administered in Switzerland alone – and the figure is set to increase further.”