Most people are deathly afraid of getting injections. An intravitreal injection (IVT) is a procedure where anesthesia is injected right into the eye before a surgery. Even the bravest person thinks twice about getting a shot this way.

Developing New Tech

Kim Gun-ho, a thermal engineer from Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, is looking to manufacture and sell a new form of anesthesia for the retina with technology based on “rapid precision tissue cooling.”

Gun-ho is leader and founder of Recens Medical—an Ulsan-based medical tech startup. Through this company, Kim is developing the technology for this highly precise, rapid cooling system which will immediately freeze the retinal cells keeping them under anesthesia for a small period of time.

Decreasing Anxiety and Cost

Through this new technology, they are hoping to significantly decrease the level of anxiety felt by patients. For the anesthetic process to work, the patient will have to wait a considerable amount of time for the anesthesia to kick in. In fact, the patient waits longer in this procedure than the length of the actual operation. All this is on top of the pain and anxiety associated with the fear of looking straight at a needle that is about to pierce your eye.

In a recent interview with Kim, he said that with the current retinal anesthesia technology available now, it takes up more than 50% of the time for the entire IVT surgery. The rapid cooling technology hopes to decrease the waiting time which will allow the doctors to do more and save the patients a lot of money and time.

It causes so much anxiety that studies have been made so a combo of meds will be administered to limit patient movement during retinal detachment surgery under local anesthesia. The biggest difficulty when doing ophthalmic surgery under local anesthesia is the patient’s movement which is why they try to use a combination of remifentanil and propofol to sedate the patient.

Right now, the tech is still in the works but the company hopes that it will be able to make an all-in-one version of the device that will deliver the anesthesia and administer the main drug in its proper dose. This way, doctors will be able to anesthetize and immediately do the procedure. Not only will this save up on time and money but will also decrease the risk of infections as well.