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Rheon glaucoma treatment tested in three countries

24.08.2018 13:50

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Rheon Medical has developed an innovative drainage device for glaucoma patients. So far 55 patients suffering from the illness in Switzerland, Greece and the UK have been treated in clinical trials.  The start-up is getting closer to obtaining the CE mark.    

The new eyeWatch device is the first ever glaucoma device that allows post-operative flow adjustment in clinic. This innovative mechanism reduces the risk of under and over-drainage that can occur with current drainage devices, hence reducing potential side effects or the need for further surgery.

Manufactured by Rheon Medical, the eyeWatch device consists of an implant which is inserted through the skin at the front of the eye and into the white and is completely covered to stay out of sight.  It is connected to a drainage tube which filters excess fluid into the back of the eye where it is reabsorbed. The innovative element is the built-in magnetically controlled flow mechanism that allows the surgeon to open or close the device, based on the eye pressure, using a special magnetic pen.

Glaucoma affects about 70 million people worldwide, and it is mostly associated with a build-up of fluid leading to high pressure in the eye. Left untreated, the disease typically causes damage to the optic nerve, leading to loss of vision.  Usually glaucoma is treated with daily eye drops, but this controls rather than cures the condition.  The use of glaucoma drainage devices (GDDs) reduces intraocular fluid pressure by providing an artificial drainage pathway from the eye.

Three patients at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital (MREH) are now the first in the UK to test the device, adding to the 43 patients treated in Switzerland and 9 in Greece. Mr Leon Au, consultant ophthalmic surgeon at MREH, is leading the Manchester arm of the eyeWatch study, which also involves patients in London and Switzerland.  He says; “Using the eyeWatch magnetic pen, we can easily change the opening and closing of the drainage device without any additional invasive surgery, until the eye pressure stabilises.  This is usually around three months after surgery, at which point the rate of fluid flowing through the drain can be fixed, as it would be with any other GDD.

We have been involved in the research of many novel fixed flow devices especially for the treatment of mild and moderate glaucoma. However, with the eyeWatch I’m excited to see for the first time a drainage device that is easy to adjust and aims to tackle advanced glaucoma."

Adan Villamarin is Chief Operating Officer at Rheon Medical and says: “We are delighted to bring eyeWatch technology to patients in the UK and to be working with researchers at Manchester Royal Eye Hospital. Our aim in developing this technology is to offer a less invasive treatment pathway for people living with advanced glaucoma.

Current surgical treatment aims to reduce pressure build-up but does not allow for subsequent control of pressure, meaning a patient may require further operations. The eyeWatch system allows for simple and accurate control of intraocular pressure, providing an alternative clinical treatment pathway which we hope in time can be developed for all types of glaucoma.”

Contacted by Startupticker.ch, Rheon Medical's CEO explains that “in case of success, we should have the CE mark to sell the implant. In fact, we have enough data to support it, and we had the audit from the notified body, we are just waiting for the final approval.” These are good news for the start-up who plans to grow on the European market.

(Press release - ES)

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