27 June 2017

Eyes on magnets

Dancing eyes syndrome cured with magnets in eye sockets (almost)

Julia Korowski, XX2 century, based on University College London: Magnetic implants used to treat 'dancing eyes'

Have you ever seen people with eyes on magnets? It turns out that at least one such person exists. Scientists from University College London and the University of Oxford implanted a magnetic prosthesis into the eye socket of a patient suffering from involuntary eye movements. The study was published only 4 years after the experimental procedure, examinations show that the flight is normal. There were no side effects at all, but, in general, vision improved, and the patient was even able to return to work. An article describing the operation was published in the journal Ophthalmology (Nachev et al., Magnetic Oculomotor Prosthetics for Acquired Nystagmus).

Involuntary oscillatory eye movements of high frequency (up to several hundred per minute) are called nystagmus. The disorder, also known as "dancing eyes syndrome", often leads to the development of oscillopsia – trembling of the visual field. Nystagmus affects about one in 400 and causes a decrease in visual acuity.

"Nystagmus develops for various reasons, many of which are associated with lesions of the central nervous system. For this reason, it is difficult to develop medical methods of treatment, and we decided to focus on the eye muscles themselves," explains one of the authors of the study, Dr. Parashkev Nachev. – But it was not possible to use a mechanical approach until recently, because the task was to stop involuntary eye movements without interfering with the natural directional change of gaze"

The first and only participant in the new study was a forty-nine-year-old man who developed nystagmus after treatment with Hodgkin's lymphoma with chemotherapy. He used to work as a driver, but after the end of therapy, he could not perform his former duties. Medications did not help, the disease seriously complicated life, and the man asked doctors to try new approaches. Doctors decided to use eye prostheses, which were described theoretically, but have not yet been applied in practice.

They developed a prosthesis consisting of two magnets: one was implanted into the lower wall of the eye socket, and the second into the oculomotor muscle. The magnets were coated with biocompatible titanium, so the implants did not cause any harm to the body.

The location of the implants on the example of the right eye (figure from the article in Ophthalmology).

"Fortunately, by deliberately shifting the gaze, a person uses more force than during involuntary movements, so very small magnets were enough for us, and the probability of immobilizing the eye was minimal," says Professor Quentin Pankhurst, who led the development of prostheses.

Doctors installed implants in both eyes of the patient. The man quickly recovered from the operation, the symptoms of nystagmus became easier, and tests showed that his vision improved, although the patient began to complain of double vision (diplopia). The procedure did not affect the mobility of the eyeballs. The authors note that diplopia developed in the man before the operation, and after it just became more noticeable. Four years later, the patient's condition remained the same, he was able to find another job (although not as a driver), it became easier for him to read and watch TV.

"Although the neural mechanisms that cause nystagmus are still poorly understood, we have shown that the condition can be corrected with a prosthesis. There is no need to work with the nervous system for this. The eye movement is important, not what causes it," comments a member of the scientific group, Professor Christopher Kennard. "Our research opens up a new field of application of magnetic implants to optimize the movement of body parts," adds Nachev.

The authors stipulate that it is not possible to use such prostheses in all cases: for example, they will not suit people who have to do MRI periodically. To understand who the new procedure can help, it is necessary to continue research. That's what doctors are doing: they are now recruiting volunteers for a larger clinical trial.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru  27.06.2017

Found a typo? Select it and press ctrl + enter Print version