Creating Instrumentation to Test Opto-Mechanical Properties of Hydrogel for Use in Cataract Surgery



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Cataract surgery is the most common procedure in the US, with over three million operations conducted annually. A cataract surgery typically involves emulsifying and draining the cataractous lens. The lens cavity is then repopulated using a semi-rigid plastic intra-ocular lens (IOL). Distant and close viewing is achieved in the eye by zonules that stretch and release the lens to adjust focus, a function known as accommodation. The higher rigidity of the IOL causes a weakened accommodation, requiring the patient to wear glasses. There are additional drawbacks to the IOL, such as the need for large incision area (6mm diameter), opacification, and cost (average of $9,600 per operation). A poly-ethylene glycol (PEG) hydrogel promises to be a more effective replacement for the natural lens, compared to the IOL. The hydrogel promises mechanical properties that more closely matches the natural lens, resulting in minimal loss of accommodation. Other potential benefits include a smaller incision size, lower toxicity, and lower cost. The aim of the project is to design and construct an eight-armed robot capable of stretching and releasing the hydrogel sample while producing a force v. time graph.



Mechanical engineering technology