3 October 2013
European Launch of Ultra Q Reflex Technology for the Treatment of Floaters
Ellex Medical Lasers Limited (ASX:ELX), a pioneer in ophthalmic laser and imaging technology, will launch its Ultra Q Reflex™ technology, the first and only YAG laser designed specifically for the treatment of vitreous strands and opacities, during the XXXI Congress of the European Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgeons in Amsterdam, 5-9 October 2013.
Vitreous strands and opacities, more commonly referred to as floaters, can result in significant visual disturbance. Although some patients can learn to live with floaters, many sufferers are unable to do so and consider them to inflict the same degree of burden and emotional strain as Age-Related Macular Degeneration (1). Traditionally, surgery has been the favored approach for the treatment of floaters. However, it carries a high risk of complications and is highly invasive. In contrast, vitreolysis, which is a laser-based therapy that vaporizes the vitreous strands and opacities, has been shown to be highly effective in providing functional improvement (2). It also had a low complication rate and offers a high degree of patient satisfaction (3). According to Dr. Paul Singh of the Eye Centers of Racine and Kenosha in Wisconsin, USA, one of the most important advantages of YAG laser vitreolysis is its robust safety profile. “From my perspective, the risks associated with a YAG laser are a lot lower than with vitrectomy, so I therefore feel comfortable using YAG vitreolysis as a first-line treatment for floaters.”
Despite the advantages of vitreolysis over vitrectomy, it is generally not taught, nor endorsed, by medical schools. This is due, in part, to the belief that floaters are benign and do not require treatment, but also 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. The design of conventional YAG lasers is such that they carry a high risk of damage to surrounding ocular tissue.
Ultra Q Reflex™, the industry’s leading multi-modality YAG laser, was designed to overcome the issues associated with conventional YAG laser technology, and is specifically designed for the treatment of floaters. Incorporating Ellex’s proprietary slit lamp illumination tower design, Ultra Q Reflex™ converges the operator’s vision, the target illumination and the treatment beam onto the same optical plane. This is of particular importance when aiming at vitreous strands or floaters, as it greatly minimizes the potential for focusing errors, and the risk of damage to the natural lens or the retina. The Reflex illumination mirror, which briefly moves out of the laser pathway during firing, ensures that the laser beam is never obstructed, thus the system’s illumination tower can be used coaxially, in addition to the typical off-axis position. Combined with state-of-the-art, wide-field optics, Reflex Technology™ also ensures excellent visibility of all ocular structures. As an added benefit, there is no risk of under-dosing or over-dosing the energy due to poor positioning of the illumination tower. In addition, the precision of the two-point aiming system and the wide offset range ensure accurate positioning of the optical breakdown, thus preserving surrounding tissue from accidental damage.
“One of the main advantages I’ve found with Ellex’s YAG laser is the optics. With the wide-field binocular lenses and the coaxial illumination, I am able to see tremendous detail,” says Dr. Singh. “I’ve also found that with Ultra Q Reflex™, I don’t have to use as much energy for my simple capsulotomies and laser peripheral iridotomies, and patient satisfaction scores are above 90% for my vitreolysis patients.”
Ultra Q Reflex™ will be on display at ESCRS Ellex Exhibit #A13 as part of an interactive display where physicians can test their ability to visualize and treat mock floaters.
Ellex will also host a roundtable discussion on Monday, 7 October from 7.30-9.00 am, on the evolving role of vitreolysis. A range of topics will be addressed, including: patient selection, managing patient expectations, documenting and measuring improvement, treatment protocol and clinical tips/pearls for success.