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Development of corneal biomechanical model. Dynamic topographical characterization based on 3D plenoptic imaging (POPCORN)
Start date: Sep 1, 2013, End date: Feb 29, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Uncorrected refractive errors are the second leading cause of blindness. Procedures detecting and correcting those errors, such as regular eye exams, glasses or contact lenses or refractive laser based surgery, could thereby transform the lives of millions of people. It is known that successful laser based refractive eye surgery can reduce or even cure common vision refractive errors, as well as, degenerative disorders like keratoconus, which is due to a corneal disorder. But while refractive surgery is becoming more affordable and safer, results are not as successful as they should be. As a consequence, this technique might not be recommendable for everybody, thus a detailed patient evaluation of his or her cornea should be made before deciding whether a refractive laser based surgery is adequate or not.Based on this fact, the main objective of the POPCORN project is to develop a non-invasive and accurate corneal prediction system. This system will be based on a new imaging technology that will generate a personalised and in-vivo biomechanical model of the patient's cornea. This model will be used to predict the biomechanical behaviour and status of the cornea after surgery. This will allow detecting and avoiding possible risks and negative side effects that could lead to the need of further additional treatments or even, long-term consequences in the visual health of the patients.This technology development will be possible thanks to the introduction of plenoptic imaging techniques that will allow generating the specific in-vivo patient model without any invasive technique. This will increase the comfort of the evaluation, while being highly accurate and providing precise diagnosis of corneal diseases. Until now, assessing the biomechanical properties of corneal tissue has not been possible besides measuring the Corneal Hysteresis parameter through an Ocular Response Analyser (ORA). This restrains practitioners and researchers from measuring nothing but merely geometrical aspects of the cornea, such as thickness and topography. The newly developed POPCORN system will allow a meticulous evaluation of patients before a laser based surgical procedure, avoiding future negative long-term side effects or patients being wrongly reoriented to other not as effective treatments.
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