Chancellor Tuanku Mukhriz Hospital (HTCM), National University of Malaysia (UKM) is the first hospital in Southeast Asia to use Ultrasound Cyclo Plasty (UCPFlex) technology in treating glaucoma patients.
UCPFlex is a technology that uses high-intensity focused Ultrasound to control and destroy the body of the eye.
According to HTCM Ophthalmologist, technology has fewer side-effects compared to the previously used Cyclodiode laser surgeries and treatments.
UCPFlex also has a faster cure rate than other treatments. This technology gives patients the option to choose the treatment they want.
As far as March 2020, the team has tried this treatment for eight patients at HTCM, and all have shown good results, the professor stated.
The science behind Ultrasound Cyclo-Plasty technology
Outside of ophthalmology ultrasound has been used to treat various diseases such as tendonitis, kidney stones, and uterine fibroids.
Within ophthalmology, ultrasound has been used for decades to image the structures of the eye as well as to remove cataracts. Using ultrasound to treat glaucoma, however, is relatively new.
Ultrasound devices all share one characteristic: they create high-frequency sound waves that are beyond the range detectable by the human ear.
Diagnostic ultrasounds also measure the waves that have been reflected off tissues (this is how the image is created). Therapeutic ultrasound devices tend to create higher energy waves with the goal of altering or destroying tissue.
Developed in France by EyeTechCare, the EyeOP1® uses high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) to lower IOP. It does this by focusing this energy on the ciliary body which produces the aqueous fluid within the eye.
The ultrasound energy changes the structure of the ciliary body by essentially destroying a portion of it. Because less tissue is left to produce aqueous fluid, the intraocular pressure (IOP) is reduced.
As with many new glaucoma procedures, the first to try it are often those who have failed accepted methods of IOP control. However, what most patients with glaucoma who are initially facing surgery want to know is, “Will newer, less invasive surgeries benefit me?”
In November 2015, the results were published of a small study attempting to answer this question. Thirty patients with glaucoma but without prior incisional surgery underwent EyeOP1® UCP. By one year out the average IOP was reduced by 30% compared to before UCP.
There was, however, no clinically significant reduction in the number of medications needed to control the IOP.
It should be noted that this study was funded by EyeTechCare, the maker of the EyeOP1®. Given that EyeTechCare stands to profit from positive clinical results, the findings of this study need to be replicated by an independent group of researchers.
EyeOP1® UCP appears to be another step-wise improvement of the broader glaucoma treatment category of cyclo-destructive procedures. Importantly, the risks of EyeOP1® UCP are notably less worrisome compared to earlier methods of ciliary body alteration.
More recently, the UCPFlex is a technology was introduced into Southeast Asia by a leading eye care technology provider, Excimed Sdn. Bhd.
They chose HTCM for a variety of reasons, including SMEs strongly encouraging the research and use of new technologies.
The technology is expected to be introduced to other hospitals after the successful treatment at HTCM.