By Cameron Chai
A Stevens Institute of Technology Senior Design team of David Barth, Johanna Heureaux, Brian Pilapil, Philip Ponce de Leon, and Ken Zhao, supervised by associate professor of mechanical engineering Dr. Eui-Hyeok Yang, have developed a biomedical implant that can be used to deliver intraocular pressure relief.
Glaucoma is an eye condition affecting the optic nerve and causing blindness. This could be caused by high intraocular pressure (IOP) due to an accumulation of fluid in the frontal area of the eye that lies between the colored portion and the outer cornea. This pressure increases and tightens the optic nerve and reduces sight progressively until complete blindness takes place. Treatments endeavor to reduce the intraocular pressure.
The team wanted to create a solution that would allow fluid to be drained out of the eye without needing a growing tissue to stem the flow. The Microelectromechanical system (MEMS) microchannel comprises a long curving canal of nano-dimensions, winding along a plate. The fluid flows through the channel. The nano-dimensions of the channel cause friction, which forces the fluid to flow out constantly, ensuring a healthy pressure in the eye.
The team included mechanical engineering students from multiple specialty groups such as math, physics and nanotechnology.