Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is an early-stage, non-invasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with poor vision who desire reshaping of the cornea (keratoplasty). This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely and accurately on targets in the eye without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling keratoplasty to be completed. While significant preclinical work has been accomplished, there is still much to be done before this technology will be widely available.
The primary options for enduring treatment of poorly shaped corneas include surgery. While LASIK is less invasive that other surgeries, it still requires an incision.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a non-invasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications and lower cost.
- Focused ultrasound is non-invasive, so it does not carry added concerns like surgical wound healing or infection.
- Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue.
- It can be repeated, if necessary.
At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused ultrasound keratoplasty treatments.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for keratoplasty is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
Strauss RW, Bolz M. Lens Opacity Following High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2019 Dec 12. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.4963.
Wang M, Li M, Yan P, Luo Q, Zhang Y, Du Z. The Effect of High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Keratoplasty on Rabbit Anterior Segment. J Ophthalmol. 2017;2017:6067890. doi: 10.1155/2017/6067890. Epub 2017 Feb 9.
Du Z, Yan P, Luo Q, Zhang D, Zhang Y. Keratorefractive Effect of High Intensity Focused Ultrasound Keratoplasty on Rabbit Eyes. J Ophthalmol. 2016;2016:5260531. doi: 10.1155/2016/5260531. Epub 2016 Jun 13.
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