How Med-Tech is delivering sight restoring operations to over 250,000 people worldwide.
Project: Iris Virtual Microscope
Services: Design, Engineering, Detail Design, Prototyping, Design for Manufacture, Manufacturing Strategy
Awards: European Product Design Award, GOED Industrial Design Award.
The Iris Virtual Microscope was developed to train surgeons to carry out cataract operations in impoverished regions for HelpMeSee.
Cataract’s continue to be the world’s leading cause of blindness with over 100 million visually impaired people. Of those, 17 million are bilaterally blind, and 83 million have moderate to severe vision loss. Those blind and severely visually impaired can have their sight restored. However, the main challenge in addressing this issue is the shortage of trained surgeons and the need to perform enough operations to clear the backlog of people with untreated cataracts.
The Iris Virtual Microscope simulation system was developed to meet this need, training surgeons to carry out cataract operations in remote locations for the worldwide organisation HelpMeSee. The aim of HelpMeSee is to train up to 30,000 specialists by 2030 to perform this life-restoring, low-risk and low-cost procedure.
Working with Cinoptics BV and Moog Medical, Bluefrog Design were commissioned to design and develop the hardware for the virtual microscope to enable simulated cataract surgery to be performed.
The fundamental challenge of this intervention was the need to engineer and package complex optronics and LCOS displays with a 40° FOV within the familiar form factor and footprint of a surgeon’s microscope. And to connect with haptic feedback from a replicated body to help surgeons carry out training as close to life as possible. Essential to this was the requirement for the Iris to move and adjust with the feel of a real microscope.
Bluefrog Design carefully integrated the electronics and optical systems into a complete product solution to meet the surgeon’s needs and engineered this for cost-effective low-volume manufacture. Primarily achieved through the use of complex 3D printed components and precision CNC machining processes.
Bluefrog Design manufactured and supplied the first 100 component sets of Iris for Cinoptics BV and Moog Medical to assemble, managing suppliers, sub-assemblies and quality approvals, and continue to support further refinement of the product.
As a result, HelpMeSee are now working with more than 300 training partners worldwide and have developed standards and tools for ophthalmic surgery. Delivering sight-restoring operations to over 250,000 people in impoverished regions and on track to train more than 30,000 specialists by 2030. Through the introduction of Iris, the training programme of HelpMeSee has seen a 50% reduction in live cataract surgery errors.
HelpMeSee can now train the number of specialists needed to address this critical problem. You can help by donating to the non-profit organisation on the link below.