British surgeon performs world’s first robot-aided eye operation

  • Professor Robert MacLaren has conducted the world’s first robot-aided eye operation, using a high precision robot at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital
  • Father William Beaver, a 70-year-old priest, became the first patient to undergo revolutionary procedure using a robot
  • The surgery was performed successfully to improve the priest’s eyesight
  • Surgeons believe that the robot can be used more often to perform complicated surgeries in future.

OXFORD, England – Surgeon and Professor Robert MacLaren has conducted the world’s first robot-aided eye operation, using a high precision robot at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital.

The surgery was conducted successfully on Father William Beaver, a 70-year-old priest, making him the first patient to avail such a revolutionary procedure in the modern medical era.

An article by Ryan Hooper and Jemma Crew for the Mirror Co UK said that Father William felt completely relaxed with the procedure using the robot and that movements in the surgeon’s hand could have given him a hemorrhage.

He was suffering from distorted vision and said that it felt like “looking in a hall of mirrors at a fairground”. The complex surgery was completed by performing complex work inside his eye to correct the sight.

“I was completely relaxed and completely comfortable because I could see that all the technology was in place and all the goodwill was in place and all the skills were in place,” Father William said as quoted by BBC News.

“Because, you see, the key is the precision. The pulse… coursing through the hand of the surgeon could have ruined it, could have given me a hemorrhage and this just made it, well, simple,” he added.

Professor Robert MacLaren, after completing the operation, said there is no doubt in his mind that the medical field had just witnessed a vision of eye surgery in the future.

“Current technology with laser scanners and microscopes allows us to monitor retinal diseases at the microscopic level, but the things we see are beyond the physiological limit of what the human hand can operate on,” MacLaren said.

“With a robotic system, we open up a whole new chapter of eye operations that currently cannot be performed,” he added.

The patient had a membrane growing on the surface of his retina making the procedure necessary. The membrane is as thin as 100th of a millimeter and the doctor needed it to be dissected from the retina carefully. The high precision robot makes this procedure very easy for the surgeons.

The surgeons control the robot using joystick and touchscreen while monitoring the progress through the operating microscope.

According to the experts, this is the first time a robot achieves the three-dimensional precision required to operate inside the human eye.

“My sight is coming back. I am delighted that my surgery went so well and I feel honored to be part of this pioneering research project,” Father William said.

Surgeons at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital believe that the robot can be used more often to perform complicated surgeries in future.

Loading…