POPCORN project begins!
The POPCORN project will develop a non-invasive and accurate corneal prediction system that will generate a personalised and in-vivo biomechanical model of the patient's cornea.
This model will determine the biomechanical behaviour and status of the cornea which will allow an early detection of anomalies and to predict how the cornea will evolve and respond to a treatment.
The cornea is the first surface of the eye’s optical system and contributes with 45 dioptres to the total of 60 dioptres of the optical power of relaxed eye. This means that minimal changes in their shape can involve great variations on the quality of the eye’s optical system.
In the last two decades different methods for modifying the curvature of the cornea have been developed, mainly with refractive purposes; others methods are intended assist to provide therapeutic interventions in diseases or alterations grouped as ectasic corneal disorders, that are processes in which a corneal thinning occur with increase of their curvature, for example, keratoconus, ectasia after corneal refractive surgery, marginal degeneration pellucida, etc. In all these cases the structure of the cornea is altered, also changing its mechanical properties, then to know how the structure and mechanical properties change predicting the evolution over the time and the effect on corneal shape is the challenge that will avoid risks and long-term consequences when treating 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.
To give response to the challenge, 4 companies, Oftalmar from Spain, CSO from Italy, Biotronics 3D from UK and Optoelectronica 2001 from Romania in collaboration with the Technological Institute Optics and Imaging (AIDO) and the University of Zaragoza from Spain and the UK Intelligent Systems Research Institute (ISRI) from UK with the support of the European Commission through the Capacities Program, Research for SMEs instrument from the 7th Framework Program of the UE are working in the development of a new low price integrated system based on non-invasive optical techniques for obtaining the mathematical and analytical model to describe the cornea behaviour through the own patient in-vivo bio-mechanical and bio-dynamical properties.
The newly developed POPCORN system will allow a meticulous evaluation of patients before a treatment which will will avoid risks and improve the effectiveness of the treatment.