But this is a good thing for the greater than 20 million Americans who have problems with a painful condition in which the lacrimal glands don’t create enough tears to lubricate the surface of the eye. To help these patients, Ackermann, PhD, a previous Stanford Biodesign fellow, and his new company are screening two tiny devices that induce natural tear creation by providing micro-electrical pulses to the lacrimal gland. One model is inserted into the mucous membrane in the sinus cavity, and the other is placed under your skin below the eyebrow.
Tear delivery rates can be altered manually with a radio controller. Stanford Biodesign is an exercise program in medical-technology development and development. Year Each, it admits 12 candidates with backgrounds in medicine, business, and engineering. These Biodesign fellows work to address unmet medical needs through the development of new devices and technology.
Ackermann, 32, who has a boyish grin and buzz-cut hair, joined this program this year 2010 after earning a PhD in biomedical engineering from Case Western University and focusing on chronic-pain and movement-disorder devices at Boston Scientific, a medical device company. He said he appreciated the organization work but recognized he wasn’t a big-company person.
At the start of this program, Ackermann was assigned to a four-person team tasked with looking for medical needs in eyes clinics. His associates included Victor McCray, MD, a board-certified cosmetic surgeon; Brandon Felkins, a graduate student in mechanical engineering at California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo;, and Garrett Smith, a PhD candidate in bioengineering at UC-San Diego. They started by watching all areas of an active ophthalmology practice, shadowing the doctors and interviewing them and their patients. At the final end of 8 weeks, they had documented more than 300 scientific needs.
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Early in this process, Ackermann recognized dried out eyesight as an appealing area. With every blink, healthy eye is lubricated with tears-a mixture of oils, water, proteins, and mucus. This fluid helps protect and moisturize the optical eyes, and the thin film that it generates is necessary for clear vision. Dry eyes become vulnerable to painful abrasions of the cornea, which can distort eyesight.
Dry vision can be triggered by a number of factors, including gland problems, medication side effects, and hormonal changes triggered by menopause or pregnancy. It really is associated with some immune-system disorders also. Mark Blumenkranz, MD, chair and professor of ophthalmology, who was simply a mentor for the fellows on this project. Both most common dry-eye treatments are lubricating cyclosporine and eyedrops, a topical emulsion, but both have disadvantages. The eyedrops require refrigeration, making them difficult to apply when needed, plus they don’t replicate all the essential components of natural tears. The topical ointment ointment snacks the swelling associated with dried-out eye but not the root cause of the condition.