Approved by the FDA in 2000, RARP has become increasingly used by surgeons to remove prostate cancer because it is minimally invasive, offers a shorter duration of hospital stay, and is associated with lower infection rates and decreased need for pain medications after surgery. In 2000, RARP was used in less than 10 per cent of prostate cancer surgeries. In 2008, it accounted for 50-80 per cent of all operations. The incident of eye injury increased from .07 per cent to .42 per cent in that time.
Although the exact causes and reasons for the increase in eye injury during RARP could not be concluded from the study, one postulation was the necessity for the patient to be positioned head-down in the ‘Trendelenburg’ position for the long-duration of surgery. Consequences include facial swelling, arm injury, as well as corneal and other visual injuries.
According to the study, which involved a review of 136,711 RARP cases, most of the visual injuries were from corneal abrasion, or scratching of the eye surface.
Researchers said the findings could offer guidance for patients undergoing robotic procedures.