Studies have shown that in carefully chosen patients, SRT can reduce the need for eye injections by about half, with many patients no longer needing any.'The injections work quickly but tend not to last long, whereas the radiation may take a few months to work — but when it does, it lasts for years,' says Mr Jackson.The new treatment is delivered by an eye consultant using a robotically controlled machine for greater precision.Michael was a good candidate as his macula was not too damaged, though the vessels in his eye were leaking fluid. The day before, a fluorescent dye was injected into his eye to highlight the blood vessels that needed to be treated.'On the day of the procedure, I was taken into a treatment room where I had to put my chin on a rest and a technician made sure my head was locked into position to avoid any movement.'A light came across from my left; it was not at all uncomfortable.'The process took about 25 minutes, and then it was all over.I felt fine, just a little tired.'Afterwards, I couldn't see any better, but Mr Jackson had explained there wouldn't be an immediate improvement because it takes time for the eyes to recover.'Two months on, I can definitely see more clearly and my vision is less blurry.However, the injections are not a cure — they only help to stop the condition getting any worse.
More recently, they have also helped to administer radiation therapy to cancer patients — but the use of robot radiation therapy for non-cancerous conditions is novel.
Every month for more than a year, company chairman Michael Edwards went to a hospital miles from his home to have an injection into his eyeball.
The treatment was painful and often inconvenient — but he endured it for 15 months because it was saving his sight.'However, while my sight didn't worsen, it didn't make any improvement,' says Michael.
Robots have been used to assist in surgery in the NHS for several years.
More recently, they have also helped to administer radiation therapy to cancer patients — but the use of robot radiation therapy for non-cancerous conditions is novel Blocking VEGF helps stop the growth of more vessels and makes the existing ones less leaky.