The high-precision miniaturized medical device, SPOT-RVC. (Credit: Instant-Lab)

Scientists have helped develop a microscopic glass device that doctors could use to inject medicine into retinal veins with unprecedented accuracy. Their instrument meets an important need in eye surgery, delivering exceptional stability and precision.

The device — called SPOT-RVC, which is short for Safe Puncture Optimized Tool for Retinal Vein Cannulation — is a high-precision, miniaturized medical device made entirely of glass. It’s just 6 cm long and 1 mm thick, and it contains a tiny fluidic channel no wider than a strand of hair as well as a sophisticated mechanism of flexible blades. Doctors can use the device to inject medicine directly into a patient’s retinal veins — something that has never before been possible.

Thanks to SPOT-RVC, doctors will be able to inject blood-clot-dissolving compounds directly into patients’ retinal veins safely, without damaging the surrounding tissue. Another innovative feature of SPOT-RVC is its microscopic, flexible channel that extends all the way down to the needle tip, enabling doctors to inject the medicine. The channel was developed using an innovative process that allows for fabricating, arbitrarily long and shaped, sealed cavities.