US20080269730A1 - Ophthalmic Phototherapy Device and Associated Treatment Method - Google Patents

Ophthalmic Phototherapy Device and Associated Treatment Method Download PDF

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US20080269730A1
US20080269730A1 US12/172,697 US17269708A US2008269730A1 US 20080269730 A1 US20080269730 A1 US 20080269730A1 US 17269708 A US17269708 A US 17269708A US 2008269730 A1 US2008269730 A1 US 2008269730A1
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selected
wavelength
eye tissue
light
cornea
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US12/172,697
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Robert S. Dotson
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PHOTOSPECTRA HEALTH SCIENCES Inc
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Dotson Robert S
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Priority to US11/106,416 priority Critical patent/US20060235493A1/en
Priority to US11/858,351 priority patent/US7479136B2/en
Application filed by Dotson Robert S filed Critical Dotson Robert S
Priority to US12/172,697 priority patent/US20080269730A1/en
Publication of US20080269730A1 publication Critical patent/US20080269730A1/en
Priority claimed from US13/679,557 external-priority patent/US20130079759A1/en
Assigned to PHOTOSPECTRA HEALTH SCIENCES, INC. reassignment PHOTOSPECTRA HEALTH SCIENCES, INC. ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST (SEE DOCUMENT FOR DETAILS). Assignors: DOTSON, ROBERT S, MERRY, GRAHAM
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61NELECTROTHERAPY; MAGNETOTHERAPY; RADIATION THERAPY; ULTRASOUND THERAPY
    • A61N5/00Radiation therapy
    • A61N5/06Radiation therapy using light
    • A61N5/0613Apparatus adapted for a specific treatment
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61BDIAGNOSIS; SURGERY; IDENTIFICATION
    • A61B3/00Apparatus for testing the eyes; Instruments for examining the eyes
    • A61B3/10Objective types, i.e. instruments for examining the eyes independent of the patients' perceptions or reactions
    • A61B3/102Objective types, i.e. instruments for examining the eyes independent of the patients' perceptions or reactions for optical coherence tomography [OCT]
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • A61B3/10Objective types, i.e. instruments for examining the eyes independent of the patients' perceptions or reactions
    • A61B3/12Objective types, i.e. instruments for examining the eyes independent of the patients' perceptions or reactions for looking at the eye fundus, e.g. ophthalmoscopes
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    • A61B3/12Objective types, i.e. instruments for examining the eyes independent of the patients' perceptions or reactions for looking at the eye fundus, e.g. ophthalmoscopes
    • A61B3/1241Objective types, i.e. instruments for examining the eyes independent of the patients' perceptions or reactions for looking at the eye fundus, e.g. ophthalmoscopes specially adapted for observation of ocular blood flow, e.g. by fluorescein angiography
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A61MEDICAL OR VETERINARY SCIENCE; HYGIENE
    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, e.g. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F9/00Methods or devices for treatment of the eyes; Devices for putting-in contact lenses; Devices to correct squinting; Apparatus to guide the blind; Protective devices for the eyes, carried on the body or in the hand
    • A61F9/007Methods or devices for eye surgery
    • A61F9/0079Methods or devices for eye surgery using non-laser electromagnetic radiation, e.g. non-coherent light or microwaves
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • A61FFILTERS IMPLANTABLE INTO BLOOD VESSELS; PROSTHESES; DEVICES PROVIDING PATENCY TO, OR PREVENTING COLLAPSING OF, TUBULAR STRUCTURES OF THE BODY, e.g. STENTS; ORTHOPAEDIC, NURSING OR CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES; FOMENTATION; TREATMENT OR PROTECTION OF EYES OR EARS; BANDAGES, DRESSINGS OR ABSORBENT PADS; FIRST-AID KITS
    • A61F9/00Methods or devices for treatment of the eyes; Devices for putting-in contact lenses; Devices to correct squinting; Apparatus to guide the blind; Protective devices for the eyes, carried on the body or in the hand
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    • A61F9/008Methods or devices for eye surgery using laser
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    • A61F9/00Methods or devices for treatment of the eyes; Devices for putting-in contact lenses; Devices to correct squinting; Apparatus to guide the blind; Protective devices for the eyes, carried on the body or in the hand
    • A61F9/007Methods or devices for eye surgery
    • A61F9/008Methods or devices for eye surgery using laser
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    • A61F9/00Methods or devices for treatment of the eyes; Devices for putting-in contact lenses; Devices to correct squinting; Apparatus to guide the blind; Protective devices for the eyes, carried on the body or in the hand
    • A61F9/007Methods or devices for eye surgery
    • A61F9/008Methods or devices for eye surgery using laser
    • A61F2009/00885Methods or devices for eye surgery using laser for treating a particular disease
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    • A61N2005/0644Handheld applicators
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    • A61N2005/0658Radiation therapy using light characterised by the wavelength of light used
    • A61N2005/0659Radiation therapy using light characterised by the wavelength of light used infra-red
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
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    • A61N2005/0662Visible light
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    • A61N5/06Radiation therapy using light
    • A61N2005/067Radiation therapy using light using laser light

Abstract

An ophthalmic phototherapy device and associated phototherapy treatment method for promoting healing of damaged or diseased eye tissue. The ophthalmic phototherapy device includes a light emitting mechanism for transmitting light of at least one preselected wavelength to the eye tissue. The ophthalmic phototherapy method includes directing light of at least one wavelength for a selected period of time to a portion of damaged or diseased eye tissue, whereby the light transmitted to the damaged or diseased eye tissue stimulates cellular activity in the eye tissue to promote healing.

Description

    CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
  • This application is a Continuation-In-Part of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/106,416, filed Apr. 14, 2005; and a Continuation-In-Part of U.S. application Ser. No. 11/858,351, filed Sep. 20, 2007.
  • STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
  • Not Applicable
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • 1. Field of Invention
  • This invention relates to an ophthalmic phototherapy device and an associated treatment method. More specifically, the present invention is related to a device and method for exposing an eye to selected wavelengths of light to promote the healing of damaged eye tissue.
  • 2. Description of the Related Art
  • Light has various uses within the medical community. Exposure of cellular tissue to light is known to modulate the activity of such cellular tissue. Different wavelengths of light act on different mechanisms within individual cells within the cellular tissue to stimulate or suppress biological activity within the cells in a process commonly referred to as photobiomodulation. In certain photobiomodulation applications, commonly known as light therapy or phototherapy, the different wavelengths are used to promote healing, revitalize and rejuvenate cells, and in some circumstances, stimulate cellular regeneration and regrowth.
  • Molecules like cytochrome-C oxidase, hemoglobin, myoglobin, and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH), found in cellular tissue, are recognized as photon acceptors and serve to initiate biochemical cellular response to photons. Additionally, it is recognized that certain biologic quantum field effects result from exposing cellular tissue to photonic light and that living cells generate low levels of photons, called biophotons. These biophotons are non-thermal in nature and are coupled to physiological functions in the cellular tissue. Biophotons represent regulatory activity from chemical reactivity within a cell and also perform regulatory activity over a given cellular tissue to promote cell growth and differentiation, and to provide intercellular and intracellular communication, such as for example, synchronicity in biofunction between cells. Such biophotons within a cellular tissue can be simulated by photonic light of one or more specific wavelengths from a source external to the cellular tissue. Such photonic light, when exposed to the cellular tissue, results in promotion of regulatory activity within the cells of the exposed cellular tissue.
  • Thus, it is generally accepted that cell activity can be up-regulated and down-regulated by specific wavelengths of low intensity light. The up- and down-regulation of cell activity through photobiomodulation is used to suppress cytokines, block the matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) cascade, suppress interleukins (IL) and tissue necrosis factors, and decreasing inflammation of cellular tissue. Photobiomodulation is also used to affect mitochondrial density and activity, cell proliferation and adhesiveness, and DNA and RNA production. Phototherapy has been shown to affect vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression (both enhancement and suppression) and to protect against a wide variety of toxins, such as chemical, ionizing, and bacteriologic toxins.
  • At least some of the known effects of the various wavelengths on body tissues are as follows. Light in the yellow range (approximately 577 nm to 597 nm) has been shown to switch off collagenase production by down-regulating MMPs and switching on new collagen production. Collagenases are enzymes that break down the native collagen that holds animal tissue together. Thus, use of light in the yellow range for phototherapy ultimately results in increased cohesion of cells in animal tissue. Light in the red range (approximately 640 nm to 700 nm) has been shown to decrease inflammation in injured tissue, increase ATP production, and otherwise stimulate beneficial cellular activity. Light in the blue range (approximately 405 nm to 450 nm) has been shown to kill various microorganisms. For example, light in the blue range has been shown to kill the propionibacterium that causes acne by activating the porphyrins produced by the bacteria. Accordingly, phototherapy has been utilized to treat infants for jaundice (e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 6,811,563), to treat acne and other skin conditions (e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 6,387,089), to treat rhinitis (e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 5,683,436), and to treat traumatic tissue injuries (e.g. U.S. Pat. No. 6,471,716).
  • Photobiomodulation also requires the use of light with suitable intensity, energy, and wavelengths, the combination of which allows light of the selected wavelengths to penetrate the cellular tissue and activate the desired cellular mechanism without significantly causing damage to the cells. The combination of characteristics suitable for photobiomodulation applications are distinct from those of light used in other applications. Other applications use high-energy, high-intensity light sources, e.g., excimer lasers, that are destructive as opposed to regenerative, because the light emitted is so intense that, as the laser light penetrates the cellular tissue, the cells become burned, melted, or otherwise destroyed. General purpose lighting, such as an incandescent light, uses low-energy light sources ranging in intensity that is incapable of sufficiently penetrating the cellular tissue, which results in superficial exposure of the cellular tissue to the low-energy light and, therefore, reduced photobiomodulation effects. Further, an incandescent light produces numerous wavelengths and the wavelengths are not subject to independent control, which results in unpredictable modulation of the cellular activity within the exposed cellular tissue. High-intensity light of sufficient energy to properly penetrate the cellular tissue and initiate photobiomodulation tends to burn and/or melt the cellular tissue prior to the completion of a phototherapy treatment. Hence, light appropriate for use in phototherapy should exhibit both a relatively low intensity, so as not to destroy the exposed cells, and a relatively high energy, so as to allow for sufficient penetration of light into the exposed cellular tissue such that the activities of a desired portion of cells within the exposed cellular tissue are photobiomodulated.
  • One device which is known to produce relatively low-intensity, high-energy light suitable for use in phototherapy is the light-emitting diode (LED). Several commercial phototherapy devices are available including devices which utilize LEDs, including the Gentlewaves® LED Photomodulation Device manufactured by Light BioScience, LLC, which includes a panel of LEDs for treating skin conditions, and the Flip4 Max7 LED device which incorporates an LED panel capable of producing multiple wavelengths of light, and which is also marketed for treating skin conditions. Further, the U.S. military and NASA have utilized small hand-held devices incorporating LED arrays that are used to reduce inflammation and to promote healing in damaged skin tissue. Light from such LED devices has been shown to exhibit the low-intensity and high-energy characteristics appropriate for use in photobiomodulation.
  • Various laser devices have been used in the field of opthalmology for the purposes of ablating and cutting eye tissue during laser-assisted surgery on an eye. Likewise, various laser devices have been used to melt or otherwise liquefy eye tissue surrounding a surgical wound in order to establish a weld or other such seal in the surgical wound. However, in order to fix certain eye problems, these destructive uses of light cause other damage to the eye tissue, but this damage is of the type that can be healed by the body's normal recuperative mechanisms over time. In addition, a device using LEDs has been utilized in the field of opthalmology in an effort to strengthen corneal tissue. However, this device utilizes LEDs producing wavelengths falling in the middle to far ultraviolet ranges (approximately 100 nm to 300 nm) to induce cross-linking of corneal collagen and thereby stiffen the cornea of the eye. Thus, this process, in effect, ages the corneal tissue, as opposed to facilitating the production of new, “normal” tissue. Therefore, the process is not one in which healing of eye tissue is promoted. Accordingly, none of the known phototherapy mechanisms are used for promoting the healing, regrowth, or regeneration of eye tissue or for alleviating discomfort associated with damaged eye tissue within the field of opthalmology.
  • BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • The present invention provides an ophthalmic phototherapy device, and an associated phototherapy method, for promoting healing of damaged eye tissue. The ophthalmic phototherapy device includes a light emitting mechanism for transmitting light of at least one preselected wavelength to the damaged eye tissue, whereby the light transmitted to the eye tissue stimulates activity in the eye tissue to promote healing. The light emitting mechanism can include a light panel having a plurality of light emitting diodes (LEDs) for emitting light. In one embodiment the device has a first set of LEDs capable of emitting light having a first wavelength, and at least a second set of LEDs capable of emitting light having a second wavelength. Further, a controller is provided for selectively controlling which LEDs are energized at any given time, such that different sequences and/or combinations of light wavelengths can be selectively communicated to the eye tissue being treated.
  • The ophthalmic phototherapy method of the present invention includes identifying a treatable portion of cellular tissue in an eye. The identified portion of damaged eye tissue is exposed to light of at least one preselected wavelength for a preselected period of time to photobiomodulate cellular activity in the cellular tissue to promote healing. Further, in one application of the method, the tissue is exposed to light of a plurality of wavelengths either sequentially, or in combination.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS
  • The above-mentioned features of the invention will become more clearly understood from the following detailed description of the invention read together with the drawings in which:
  • FIG. 1 is a perspective view of an ophthalmic phototherapy device of the present invention;
  • FIG. 2 is a front elevation view of an ophthalmic phototherapy device of FIG. 1;
  • FIG. 3 is a perspective view of another embodiment of an ophthalmic phototherapy device of the present invention;
  • FIG. 4 is a side elevation view of another embodiment of an ophthalmic phototherapy device of the present invention, showing the ophthalmic phototherapy device mounted on a slit lamp;
  • FIG. 5 is a block diagram of a power/control system for an ophthalmic phototherapy device of the present invention; and
  • FIG. 6 is a flow diagram showing one embodiment of the method of the present invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • An ophthalmic phototherapy device is illustrated generally at 10 in the drawings. As will be discussed in detail below, the ophthalmic phototherapy device 10 produces light of a selected wavelength, or sequences or combinations of light having differing wavelengths within a particular range of wavelengths. In accordance with the ophthalmic treatment method of the present invention, the light emitted by the phototherapy device 10 is directed into the eye of a patient to promote healing of damaged eye tissue.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of the ophthalmic phototherapy device 10. The ophthalmic phototherapy device 10 incorporates a light emitting mechanism that includes a light panel 12 incorporating a plurality of light sources 14 that emit light having the desired wavelengths. The light panel 12 is mounted in a housing 16 that is configured to facilitate use of the device 10. A switch 20 allows the operator to control the production of light. In one embodiment, the light sources are LEDs. It will be appreciated that other mechanisms capable of emitting light of a desired wavelength, intensity, and energy can be used, and that the use of the term LEDs 14 throughout the application is not intended to limit the available mechanisms for producing the desired light. For example, the light emitting mechanism could include a low power laser source for generating light of the appropriate wavelength(s), or one or more filtered incandescent or fluorescent lights. In the illustrated embodiment, the ophthalmic phototherapy device 10 is configured for hand-held use. However, those skilled in the art will recognize that the ophthalmic phototherapy device can be either hand-held or mounted on an operatively associated medical device or other supporting structure without departing from the scope and spirit of the present invention.
  • FIG. 2 is an front elevation view of the phototherapy device 10. With respect to the particular LEDs used in the panel 12, and as will be discussed further below, one approximate range of wavelengths desirable for ophthalmic phototherapy is between 300 nm and 1000 nm. However, other wavelengths may be beneficial for certain applications. Thus, depending on the particular therapeutic application, the panel 12 can be configured to have a plurality of LEDs 14 that produce the same wavelength of light within a desired range, or the panel 12 can incorporate selected combinations of LEDs 14 capable of producing light of differing wavelengths within a desired range. As will be discussed further below, where selected combinations of LEDs 14 are used which produce different wavelengths, the operator of the device 10 can select among wavelengths to be emitted within a desired range. Alternatively, where the ability to select between the wavelengths of the light emitted is desired, the panel 12 could incorporate LEDs 14 that produce a common wavelength and conventional filters (not shown) could be used to alter the wavelength to that desired.
  • In FIG. 3 an alternate embodiment of the ophthalmic phototherapy device of the present invention is illustrated at 10′. It will be noted that features of the device 10′ that are common to the device 10 are referenced with common prime numerals. Those skilled in the art will recognize that certain hand-held ophthalmic instruments, such as retinoscopes and opthalmoscopes, utilize interchangeable, detachable handles which incorporate rechargeable batteries. The ophthalmic phototherapy device 10′ includes a housing 16′ that detachably couples with such an interchangeable, rechargeable battery handle 22. Thus, the device 10′ utilizes a power supply which is commonly available to ophthalmic health care professionals, and does not require a recharging system that is unique to the phototherapy device.
  • A further alternate embodiment of the ophthalmic phototherapy device of the present invention is illustrated at 10″ in FIG. 4. In this regard, it will be noted that features of the device 10″ that are common to the device 10 are referenced with common double prime numerals. As illustrated, the ophthalmic phototherapy device 10″ includes an articulated arm 24 that allows the device 10″ to be adjustably mounted on a piece of operatively associated ophthalmic equipment such as the illustrated slit lamp 26. Although, the device 10″ is illustrated as being mounted on a slit lamp 26 in FIG. 4, it will be understood that the device 10″ could be mounted on various other pieces of equipment or structures. For example, and as will be discussed further below, in one embodiment, the device 10″ is mounted proximate the head of an excimer laser such that device 10″ can be utilized immediately before, during and/or after laser eye surgery.
  • Whereas the articulated support arm 24 defines various jointed configurations which allow the device 10″ to be selectively positioned at various locations while being supported on associated ophthalmic equipment or other structures, the illustrated arm 24 includes a first arm section 28 having first and second end portions 30 and 32, respectively. The first end portion 30 is pivotally secured to the slit lamp 26 or other supporting structure, such that the arm 24 can be selectively pivoted in a substantially horizontal plane. The second end portion 32 of the first arm section 28 is pivotally secured to the first end portion 36 of a second arm section 34 such that the second arm section 34 pivots in a substantially vertical plane. Further, the second arm section 34 is pivotally secured proximate its second end portion 38 to a bracket 40 provided on the housing 16″ such that the housing 16″ and the light panel 12″ pivot in a substantially vertical plane which is substantially perpendicular to the plane in which the second arm section 34 pivots.
  • It will be recognized that various mechanisms could be used for pivotally securing the first arm section 28 to a supporting structure, for pivotally securing the first arm section 28 to the second arm section 34, and for pivotally securing the second arm section 34 to the bracket 40. However, as illustrated in FIG. 4, in one embodiment an attachment structure 42 is provided that is secured to the supporting structure, as by an adhesive or by mechanical fasteners (not shown), and a threaded fastener 44 having a locking knob 48 is used to pivotally, and lockably, secure the first end portion 30 of the first arm section 28 to the attachment structure 42. A second threaded fastener 50 having a locking knob 52 is provided for pivotally, and lockably, securing the second arm section 34 to the first arm section 28, and a third threaded fastener 54, with a locking knob 56, is provided for pivotally, and lockably, securing the second arm section 34 to the bracket 40. Thus, it will be recognized that the articulated support arm 24 allows the light panel 12″ to be pivoted to a position where it does not interfere with the use of the equipment on which it is mounted, and allows the light panel 12″ to be pivoted into position to emit light into the eye of a patient when needed. Whereas the ophthalmic phototherapy device 10 and device 10′ could be used in conjunction with laser eye surgery, it will be recognized that use of the device 10″ with its articulated support arm 24 is particularly advantageous. In this regard, the articulated support arm 24 allows the device 10″ to be mounted proximate a laser surgery apparatus such that both immediately prior to and immediately following the surgical procedure, the panel 12 can be rotated into position to emit light into the eye to promote healing.
  • FIG. 5 illustrates a block diagram of the ophthalmic phototherapy device 10. The ophthalmic phototherapy device 10 includes a power supply 18 for energizing the light panel 12 in response to operation of the switch 20 for which selectively connects and disconnects the light panel 12 and the power supply 18 to turn the panel 12 on and off. In one embodiment, the power supply is a battery (not shown) that is preferably rechargeable. In other embodiments, suitable circuitry is provided for connecting the device to a conventional AC power supply such as a wall outlet. In addition, as will be discussed below with respect to the phototherapy method of the present invention, several embodiments of the ophthalmic phototherapy device 10 allow selective control of the wavelength of the light emitted by the device 10, as well as the duration of a patient's exposure to the light emitted, and the energy and intensity of the light emitted. Accordingly, the ophthalmic phototherapy device 10 illustrated in FIG. 5 includes a power/control system 58 that includes a controller 60 for activating and/or deactivating the LEDs. In several embodiments, the controller 60 includes a timer for automatically turning the LED's off after a preselected period of time. The controller 60 also controls the energy output of the LEDs 14 and the intensity of the output light, and, where LEDs 14 emitting light of different wavelengths are used, which LEDs are lit at any given time. Further, in another embodiment the controller 60 allows different LEDs to be lit in a desired sequence, or in a pulsed format. In one embodiment, the controller is implemented in discrete circuits, either analog or digital, designed to perform the various functions. In another embodiment, the controller is implemented using any processor device or other similar device providing the necessary logic and control functions.
  • Referring to FIG. 6, the phototherapy method 76 of the present invention includes generally identifying a treatable portion of cellular tissue in an eye 62, such as a damaged portion of cellular tissue, or a portion of cellular tissue in which imminent damage is anticipated. Once a treatable portion of cellular tissue is identified, treatment is performed 74 by directing light of at least one preselected wavelength to cells forming at least a portion of the cellular tissue to be treated. The wavelength composition of the light directed to the cellular tissue during treatment is preselected so that exposure of the cellular tissue to the light results in photobiomodulation of the cellular activity of at least a portion of the cells forming the cellular tissue, such that healing of the cellular tissue is promoted.
  • The approximate range of wavelengths desirable for ophthalmic phototherapy correspond to portions of the visible and invisible infrared spectrum ranging from blue light to near-infrared and infrared light, in other words, light having wavelengths between approximately 300 nm and 1000 nm, and preferably between 490 nm and 810 nm. However, both the general and preferred ranges are not intended to be limiting as wavelengths outside of these ranges may be helpful for certain treatment applications. The particular wavelength used varies depending on the injury or eye condition being treated. For example, light in the yellow range (approximately 577 nm to 597 nm) has been shown to switch off collagenase production by down-regulating MMP production and to switch on new collagen production. In the field of opthamology, yellow light having a wavelength of approximately 590 nm has been found to be beneficial for treating corneal trauma when directed into a traumatized cornea. Red light (approximately 640 nm to 700 nm) has been found to decrease inflammation of tissue in the eye, increase ATP production, and reset cellular activity to cause abnormal cells to exhibit more normal behavior. Further, a preselected sequence or combination of wavelengths can be advantageously used in certain conditions. For example, a sequence or combination of infrared or near-infrared light, red light, and yellow light directed into the eye at a dosage of approximately 4 joules/sq. cm has been found to be beneficial for treating glaucoma. Similar dosages of sequences or combinations of infrared or near-infrared light, red light, and yellow light have been found to stimulate the cells in the trabecular meshwork to produce macrophages that then reduce the pigment cells clogging the meshwork of the eye, thereby allowing the eye to drain.
  • The duration of the phototherapy treatments varies depending on the particular eye condition being treated. Beneficial tissue response can be obtained from dosages of less than 4 joules/sq. cm, such that the duration of treatment can be relatively short. Exposure times of less than one minute can be beneficial, with exposure times in excess of 10 minutes being contemplated. For example, to achieve approximate dosages of less than 4 joules/sq. cm, treatment duration could vary between under a minute to approximately 10 minutes, depending upon the output power and intensity of the light source utilized. Further, although phototherapy treatments of less than 0.1 joules/sq. cm, and having durations of 40 seconds or less, have been shown to be beneficial, longer treatments may be desirable to provide additional benefit, or to allow for larger dosages of light energy per unit area of cellular tissue. Of course, it will be understood by one skilled in the art that beneficial tissue response can be obtained from dosages of light energy greater than 4 joules/sq. cm, and such dosages may be used without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention.
  • FIG. 6 is a block diagram of one method 76 for promoting healing of eye tissue. In the illustrated embodiment, the method begins with a wavelength selection step 78, involving the selection of one or more wavelengths of light for use in the method 76. As discussed above, the particular wavelengths selected for use depends upon the desired cellular activity to be stimulated through application of the method 76. For example, in one embodiment, wavelengths in the red and near-infrared spectrums are selected to suppress inflammation of the eye tissue. In another embodiment, wavelengths in the yellow spectrum are selected to suppress collagenase production and to stimulate new collagen production. In still another embodiment, wavelengths in multiple color spectrums are selected to stimulate multiple desired cellular activities in the treated eye tissue.
  • In a dosage selection step 80, a suitable dosage of light is selected for use in the method 76 for the selected wavelength. In the illustrated embodiment, selection of the dosage 80 includes selection of amount of light energy 82 to be delivered over a selected period of time 84 at a selected intensity 86. However, it will be understood that other factors, such as for example the topical area of cellular tissue to be treated, diffusion of the light to be applied, and other such factors, may be selected during the selection of dosage 80 without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention. A light source is provided which is capable of generating a beam of light having the characteristics selected during the dosage selection step 80. At a treatment phase 74, the light source is used to generate a beam of light 88 having the characteristics selected during the dosage selection step 80. In the illustrated embodiment, a beam of light is generated 88 having the energy, duration, and intensity characteristics selected in the dosage selection step 80. Of course, it will be understood that the particular characteristics of the generated beam of light depend upon the specific factors selected during the dosage selection step 80. At a direction step 90, the beam of light 88 is directed to a portion of eye tissue to be treated. Upon exposure of cells in the eye tissue to the beam of light 88, at least a portion of the cells are stimulated to undergo at least one desired cellular activity corresponding to the selected wavelength. In this way, cellular activity useful in promotion of healing of the eye tissue is stimulated.
  • In another embodiment, illustrated in FIG. 7, the method 76′ is used for promoting healing of eye tissue both before and after performing a medical procedure on the eye to correct vision problems. In the illustrated embodiment, the method begins with an optional pretreatment dosage selection step 92, wherein a dosage is selected for an optional pretreatment step 72. The pretreatment step 72 involves directing light of one or more selected wavelengths of selected energy, duration, and intensity characteristics into the cornea of the patient's eye in order to stimulate the eye tissue to engage in cellular activity beneficial to healing. In one embodiment, the light uses wavelengths in the red and near-infrared spectrums to suppress inflammation of the eye tissue during and after surgery. In another embodiment, the light used in the pretreatment step 72 uses wavelengths in both the yellow and red spectrums to suppress inflammation of the eye tissue during and after surgery, to suppress collagenase production, and to stimulate new collagen production.
  • In a damage phase 62, a medical procedure for correcting vision problems is performed, thereby damaging a portion of eye tissue. The medical procedure of the illustrated embodiment uses laser surgery of the epithelium and stroma portions of the cornea of the eye, a laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis procedure commonly referred to as LASIK eye surgery as an example. The LASIK procedure involves the step 64 of cutting a flap in the epithelium of the cornea of an eye while leaving the eye tissue at one end of the flap uncut. It will be appreciated by those familiar with LASIK that a knife, referred to as a microkeratome, or a laser, such as the IntraLase™ femtosecond (1054 nm) laser, can be used to cut the flap 64. In a folding step 66, the uncut tissue serves as a hinge that allows the flap to be folded back to reveal the stroma, or middle section of the cornea. A reshaping step 68 uses pulses from a computer controlled excimer laser to vaporize a portion of the stroma and reshape the cornea. The LASIK procedure ends with a flap replacement step 70 in which the flap of epithelium tissue is replaced 70.
  • To this extent, in the illustrated embodiment, the damage phase 62 includes performing LASIK eye surgery on an eye. However, while the embodiment of the method in FIG. 7 illustrates the performance of laser eye surgery at the damage phase 62, it will be understood that the phototherapy method of the present invention can also be beneficially used to promote healing of eye tissue in connection with various other eye conditions. For example, the method 76′ is also effective in promoting healing in connection with LASIK or Epi-Lasik procedures, corneal inlays, corneal transplants (penetrating keratoplasty or PKP), cataract and intraocular implant (IOL) surgery, and glaucoma surgery. Utilized during or after such procedures, the present phototherapy method reduces healing time and the need for extended use of postoperative drugs such as steroids. Moreover, the phototherapy method of the present invention is useful in promoting healing of damaged eye tissue whether the damage is the result of disease, accident, surgery, or other such occurrences. To this extent, in another embodiment, the damage phase 62 is accomplished by allowing a portion of cellular tissue in an eye to become damaged or diseased.
  • Following the damage phase 62, a treatment dosage selection step 80 is performed. As discussed above, selection of the treatment dosage 80 includes selection of an amount of light energy to be delivered over a selected period of time at a selected intensity. In a treatment step 74, light of a selected wavelength is directed into the cornea of the patient's eye in accordance with the selected treatment dosage 80 for photobiomodulating the damaged eye tissue to promote healing and suppress inflammation.
  • Whereas numerous wavelengths are beneficial during the optional initial step 72, the yellow range of wavelengths (approximately 577 nm to 597 nm) is particularly beneficial for treatment 74 of the eye tissue after laser eye surgery. Thus, in one embodiment, the light directed into the patient's eye 72 subsequent to replacement of the epithelial flap 70 is preselected to exhibit a wavelength in the yellow spectrum, having a range of approximately 577 nm and 597 nm. In another embodiment, the light directed into the patient's eye 72 subsequent to replacement of the epithelial flap 70 is preselected to exhibit a wavelength between the range of approximately 577 nm and 1000 nm. In more discreet embodiments, the light directed into the patient's eye 72 following laser surgery 62 is preselected to exhibit multiple wavelengths in the yellow light spectrum, having ranges of between approximately 577 nm to 597 nm, and the red and near-infrared spectrum, having ranges between approximately 640 nm to 1000 nm.
  • In light of the above, it will be recognized that the ophthalmic phototherapy devices 10, 10′, and 10″ are particularly well suited for administering phototherapy to the eye of a patient. It will be noted that use of the ophthalmic phototherapy device 10″, with its articulated support arm 24, can be particularly useful in applying phototherapy in accordance with the present method 76′ subsequent to laser eye surgery 62. In this regard, the articulated support arm 24 allows the panel 12″ to be rotated into position to emit light into the patient's eye immediately upon completion of the surgical procedure.
  • While the present invention has been illustrated by description of several embodiments and while the illustrative embodiments have been described in considerable detail, it is not the intention of the applicant to restrict or in any way limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. Additional advantages and modifications will readily appear to those skilled in the art. The invention in its broader aspects is therefore not limited to the specific details, representative apparatus and methods, and illustrative examples shown and described. Accordingly, departures may be made from such details without departing from the spirit or scope of applicant's general inventive concept.

Claims (20)

1. An ophthalmic phototherapy method for stimulating desired cellular activity useful in promoting the healing of damaged eye tissue, said method comprising the steps of:
(a) selecting a wavelength for treatment of the damaged eye tissue, said wavelength adapted to cause activation of a desired cellular activity in the damaged eye tissue;
(b) selecting a dosage for treatment of the damaged eye tissue, said dosage comprising a selected energy delivered over a selected period of time at a selected intensity for said selected wavelength, said selected energy being sufficient to penetrate into the damaged eye tissue, said selected intensity being low enough to minimize further damage to the damaged eye tissue;
(c) providing a light source adapted to produce a beam of light having said selected wavelength, said selected energy, and said selected intensity for said selected period of time;
(d) generating said beam of light; and
(e) directing said beam of light at the damaged eye tissue according to said selected dosage;
whereby the activation of desired cellular activity useful in healing of the damaged eye tissue is promoted.
2. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 1, wherein said wavelength is between approximately 300 nm and approximately 1000 nm.
3. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 1, wherein said wavelength is between approximately 577 nm and approximately 597 nm.
4. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 1, wherein said wavelength is selected to activate a decrease in production of collagenase in the damaged eye tissue.
5. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 1, wherein said wavelength is selected to activate a decrease in inflammation of cellular tissue in the damaged eye tissue.
6. An ophthalmic phototherapy method for stimulating desired cellular activity useful in promoting the healing of damaged eye tissue, said method comprising the steps of:
(a) selecting a first wavelength for pretreatment of eye tissue, said first wavelength adapted to cause activation of a first desired cellular activity in the eye tissue;
(b) selecting a first dosage for pretreatment of the eye tissue, said first dosage comprising a first selected energy delivered over a first selected period of time at a first selected intensity for said first selected wavelength, said first selected energy being sufficient to penetrate into the eye tissue, said first selected intensity being low enough to minimize damage to the eye tissue;
(c) providing a light source adapted to produce a first beam of light having said first selected wavelength, said first selected energy, and said first selected intensity for said first selected period of time;
(d) generating said first beam of light;
(e) pretreating at least a portion of the eye tissue by directing said first beam of light at the eye tissue according to said first selected dosage;
(f) allowing at least a portion of the cellular tissue to become damaged;
(g) selecting a second wavelength for treatment of the damaged eye tissue, said second wavelength adapted to cause activation of a second desired cellular activity in the damaged eye tissue;
(h) selecting a second dosage for treatment of the damaged eye tissue, said second dosage comprising a second selected energy delivered over a second selected period of time at a second selected intensity for said second selected wavelength, said second selected energy being sufficient to penetrate into the damaged eye tissue, said second selected intensity being low enough to minimize further damage to the damaged eye tissue;
(i) providing a light source adapted to produce a second beam of light having said second selected wavelength, said second selected energy, and said second selected intensity for said second selected period of time;
(j) generating said second beam of light; and
(k) treating at least a portion of the eye tissue by directing said second beam of light at the damaged eye tissue according to said second selected dosage;
whereby the activation of desired cellular activity useful healing of the damaged eye tissue is promoted.
7. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 6, wherein said step of allowing the eye tissue to become damaged includes performing laser eye surgery on the eye, thereby damaging the cornea of the eye.
8. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 6 wherein each of the first and second selected wavelengths is between approximately 300 nm and approximately 1000 nm.
9. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 6 wherein the first wavelength is selected to be between approximately 640 nm and approximately 700 nm, and wherein the second wavelength is selected to be between approximately 577 nm and approximately 597 nm.
10. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 6, wherein said first wavelength is selected to activate a decrease in inflammation of the eye tissue.
11. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 6, wherein said second wavelength is selected to activate a decrease in production of collagenase in the damaged eye tissue.
12. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 6, wherein said second wavelength is selected to activate a decrease in inflammation of cellular tissue in the damaged eye tissue.
13. An ophthalmic phototherapy method for stimulating desired cellular activity useful in promoting the healing of a cornea of an eye following laser eye surgery, said method comprising the steps of:
(a) selecting a first wavelength for pretreatment of the cornea, said first wavelength adapted to cause activation of a first desired cellular activity in the cornea;
(b) selecting a first dosage for pretreatment of the cornea, said first dosage comprising a first selected energy delivered over a first selected period of time at a first selected intensity for said first selected wavelength, said first selected energy being sufficient to penetrate into the cornea, said first selected intensity being low enough to minimize damage to the cornea;
(c) providing a light source adapted to produce a first beam of light having said first selected wavelength, said first selected energy, and said first selected intensity for said first selected period of time;
(d) generating said first beam of light;
(e) pretreating the cornea by directing said first beam of light at the cornea according to said first selected dosage;
(f) cutting a flap in the cornea and folding back the flap to reveal the stroma of the cornea;
(g) using a laser to vaporize a portion of the stroma to facilitate the reshaping of the cornea;
(h) replacing the flap;
(g) selecting a second wavelength for treatment of the cornea, said second wavelength adapted to cause activation of a second desired cellular activity in the cornea;
(h) selecting a second dosage for treatment of the cornea, said second dosage comprising a second selected energy delivered over a second selected period of time at a second selected intensity for said second selected wavelength, said second selected energy being sufficient to penetrate into the cornea, said second selected intensity being low enough to minimize further damage to the cornea;
(i) providing a light source adapted to produce a second beam of light having said second selected wavelength, said second selected energy, and said second selected intensity for said second selected period of time;
(j) generating said second beam of light; and
(k) treating the cornea by directing said second beam of light at the cornea according to said second selected dosage;
whereby the activation of desired cellular activity useful healing of the cornea is promoted.
14. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 13 wherein each of the first and second wavelengths is selected to be between approximately 300 nm and approximately 1000 nm.
15. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 14 wherein the first wavelength is selected to be between approximately 640 nm and approximately 700 nm, and wherein the second wavelength is selected to be between approximately 577 nm and approximately 597 nm.
16. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 13, wherein said step of treating at least a portion of the cornea includes stimulating at least a portion of cells in the cornea to decrease inflammation of the cellular tissue.
17. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 13, wherein said first wavelength is selected to activate a decrease in production of collagenase in the damaged eye tissue.
18. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 13, wherein said first wavelength is selected to activate a decrease in inflammation of the eye tissue.
19. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 13, wherein said second wavelength is selected to activate a decrease in production of collagenase in the damaged eye tissue.
20. The ophthalmic phototherapy method of claim 13, wherein said second wavelength is selected to activate a decrease in inflammation of cellular tissue in the damaged eye tissue.
US12/172,697 2005-04-14 2008-07-14 Ophthalmic Phototherapy Device and Associated Treatment Method Abandoned US20080269730A1 (en)

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US15/050,483 US9592405B2 (en) 2005-04-14 2016-02-23 Ophthalmic phototherapy device and associated treatment method
US15/050,482 US9592404B2 (en) 2005-04-14 2016-02-23 Ophthalmic phototherapy device and associated treatment method
US15/050,484 US20160166850A1 (en) 2005-04-14 2016-02-23 Ophthalmic phototherapy device and associated treatment method
US15/081,805 US9782604B2 (en) 2005-04-14 2016-03-25 Ophthalmic phototherapy device and associated treatment method
US15/497,148 US9814903B2 (en) 2005-04-14 2017-04-25 Ophthalmic phototherapy system and associated method
US15/783,666 US9974971B2 (en) 2005-04-14 2017-10-13 Ophthalmic phototherapy method
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US9974971B2 (en) 2018-05-22
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US20160206897A1 (en) 2016-07-21
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US20180050221A1 (en) 2018-02-22
US10252078B2 (en) 2019-04-09

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