19 November 2013

Vitreolysis in the Spotlight at the 117th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology


Ellex Medical Lasers Limited (ASX:ELX), a pioneer in ophthalmic laser and imaging technology, will underscore the importance of Nd: YAG Laser vitreolysis and SLT during a series of events at the 117th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) in New Orleans, 16-19 November 2013.

Ellex – a pioneer of Vitreolysis

Vitreolysis is a highly effective laser therapy that has been used in the treatment of floaters for more than 20 years.(1) Despite the many advantages of vitreolysis over traditional surgery (vitrectomy), it is generally not taught, nor endorsed, by medical schools. This is due to the fact that conventional YAG lasers provide a limited view of the vitreous, which can make it difficult to identify the targeted membranes and opacities. In addition, these conventional lasers require high levels of energy, which carries a significant risk of damage to surrounding ocular tissue.

When performed with a YAG laser designed specifically for use in the posterior segment, however, vitreolysis has a low complication rate. It has also been shown to offer a high degree of patient satisfaction.(2)(3) As an added benefit, if vitreolysis is not effective, or if the floaters return, surgical intervention remains an option.
Hosted at the Ellex Exhibit #1117 on Saturday and Sunday, Ellex Speaker Central will feature a series of presentations addressing the role of vitreolysis in the treatment of vitreous strands and opacities. A number of topics will be presented by the industry’s leading experts, including:

  • Is Vitreolysis a Better Solution?
  • Vitreolysis: the Challenges and the Rewards
  • Vitreolysis vs. Vitrectomy

According to Dr. Paul Singh of the Eye Centers of Racine and Kenosha in Wisconsin, one of the most important advantages of the YAG laser for vitreolysis is its robust safety profile. “From my perspective, the risks associated with YAG are a lot lower than with vitrectomy, so I feel comfortable using YAG vitreolysis as a first-line treatment for floaters,” said Dr Singh.

On display at the Ellex Exhibit #1117 at AAO will be the Ultra Q Reflex™ multi-modality YAG laser as part of an interactive wetlab display where physicians can test their ability to visualize and treat mock floaters.

Launched by Ellex in late 2012, Ultra Q Reflex™ is the world’s only YAG laser specifically designed for the treatment of floaters. Featuring proprietary coaxial illumination, Reflex Technology™ offers optimized visualization of ocular structures and improved accuracy in focusing – minimizing the potential for focusing errors and the risk of damage to the natural lens or the retina.

SLT – the treatment of choice for glaucoma

Ellex will also spotlight the role of selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) in glaucoma management during the 2013 annual meeting of the AAO.

A highly effective approach for first-line glaucoma treatment, SLT can also be used as an adjunct therapy with medication and as alternative therapy when medication or surgery fails. Since its approval by the FDA in 2001 and subsequent market introduction in the USA and worldwide, SLT has steadily become the therapy of choice for glaucoma.

Launched in the USA earlier this year, Ellex’s SLT technology platform is available in two product configurations – the Tango™ SLT/YAG combination laser, and the Solo™ SLT laser.

Glaucoma specialist Andrew G. Iwach, MD, Glaucoma Consultants of San Francisco, has been using the Tango™ to treat glaucoma patients at his San Francisco based practice for the past several months: “I have been impressed by the laser’s performance. In particular, its optics which allow me to visualize the trabecular meshwork in greater detail, and the fast 3 hertz firing rate which allows me to perform procedures faster – and with greater accuracy.”

Ellex Speaker Central at the Ellex Exhibit #1117 will feature a series of presentations addressing the role of SLT as a primary, adjunct and replacement therapy for glaucoma. Also to be addressed is the common misconception that SLT is a “weaker” version of ALT.

In his presentation “SLT is Not ALT Lite”, Dr. Iwach will highlight that, whilst SLT has been shown to achieve a similar therapeutic effect as Argon Laser Trabeculoplasty (ALT) in the treatment of glaucoma, the mechanical and biological effects differ markedly. Most importantly, SLT is able to achieve the desired therapeutic effect without the coagulative damage caused by ALT.

Both Tango™ and Solo™ will be in display at the Ellex Exhibit #1117 at AAO.

1. Fankhauser F, Kwasniewska S, van der Zypen E. Vitreolysis with the Q-switched laser. Arch Ophthalmol. 1985 Aug; 103(8):1166-71
2. Tassignon MJ, Kreissig I, Stempels N, Brihaye M. Indications for Q-switched and mode-locked Nd: YAG lasers in vitreoretinal pathology. Eur J Ophthalmol. 1991 Jul-Sep; 1(3):123-30.
3. Tsai WF, Chen YC, Su CY. Treatment of vitreous floaters with neodymium YAG laser. Br J Ophthalmol. 1993 Aug; 77(8):485-8.