WIO 2023: Dr Maria H. Berrocal on robots, 3D surgery and the future of surgical retina


Maria H. Berrocal, MD, spoke with our team about her presentation at the Women in Ophthalmology Summer Symposium in Marco Island, Florida.

Maria H. Berrocal, MD spoke with our team about her presentation ahead of the Women in Ophthalmology Summer Symposium being held in Marco Island, Florida.

Video Transcript

Editor's note - This transcript has been edited for clarity.

David Hutton:

I'm David Hutton of Ophthalmology Times. Women in Ophthalmology is hosting its Summer Symposium this year in Marco Island, Florida. I'm joined today by Dr Maria Berrocal, who is presenting "Robots and 3D surgery: What is the future and surgical retina?" Thank you so much for joining us today. Tell us about your presentation.

Maria H. Berrocal, MD:

Thank you, David. Yes, I'm going to be talking about the future of vitraretinal surgery. In particular, the new advances that have been happening and that are expected to happen in the future. We have 3D heads-up digital surgery, with digital microscopes and manipulation of images. And this has a number of advantages.

First of all, it has increased depth of field, up to 3 times. An expanded field of view, increased magnification, it's also ergonomic. But it also allows us to be able to enhance the image. So we can actually see tissues better, and it allows us to perform surgery better. And we already have several of these systems that are out there, the Ngenuity, the Zeiss Artevo, then we also have ways of being able to input OCT and other data into our same image for cataract surgery. It's been done, for example...[by] superimposing OCTs on the surgery that we're doing.

And there are other systems coming out – Bausch & Lomb has a system coming out too, and then we have the bionic system, which is different, because it actually has an exoscope. So what it actually does is, there's a camera viewing the eye, but we wear actually [a] headset, which is very similar to what fighter pilots use when they're navigating. And it allows us to basically move our heads and move the image and control everything with, with our heads. So that is as far as visualisation is going.

As far as robotics, there really, there's nothing really out there quite yet. But what they're working on doing, and there's a number of companies doing different things. It's basically stabilising our instruments together with eye movements and head movements. So we have a very, very stable surgical environment and at the same time, basically compensating for any tremor that the surgeon may have. And this is very useful for fine details like analysing vessels inside the retina, which is something very difficult to do, but that can be useful. And there are some companies that will be using AI (Artificial Intelligence) to learn from as we go along to optimise our performance. So it's all very exciting out there if what do we can foresee in the future.

David Hutton:

Ultimately, what can this mean for retina specialists in the patients they treat?

Maria H. Berrocal, MD:

Well, I think we're gonna be having better outcomes in our patients because... in surgery, you cannot operate when you cannot see well. The better we actually see tissues, the larger we see them, the better we will become as surgeons and the better outcomes our patients will have. And less variables, we can have less tremors, less movements of the surgical field, the better our results will be.

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