A tiny, EPFL-designed implantable device that can be positioned within the eye and controlled remotely may well revolutionise the treatment of glaucoma. The device should be through testing this year and on its way to the market in 2014 via Rheon Medical, an EPFL spin-off.
Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness globally, after cataracts. It is characterised by the presence of too much liquid between the cornea and the iris. This leads to a build-up of pressure within the eye, a situation that can destroy the optic nerve if it is not handled correctly.
Professor Nikos Stergiopulos’s team at the EPFL’s Laboratory of Hemodynamics and Cardiovascular Technology (LHTC) has developed an adjustable implantable ‘micro-tap’ that can drain surplus fluid in the eye. Clinical trials on this glaucoma drainage device should be starting before the end of the year and will be co-ordinated by Rheon Medical, an EPFL start-up. In addition to Prof. Stergiopulos, the project team is composed of LHTC members St