Vision-based proximity detection in retinal surgery

Rogério Richa, Marcin Balicki, Raphael Sznitman, Eric Meisner, Russell Taylor, Gregory Hager

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In retinal surgery, surgeons face difficulties such as indirect visualization of surgical targets, physiological tremor, and lack of tactile feedback, which increase the risk of retinal damage caused by incorrect surgical gestures. In this context, intraocular proximity sensing has the potential to overcome current technical limitations and increase surgical safety. In this paper, we present a system for detecting unintentional collisions between surgical tools and the retina using the visual feedback provided by the opthalmic stereo microscope. Using stereo images, proximity between surgical tools and the retinal surface can be detected when their relative stereo disparity is small. For this purpose, we developed a system comprised of two modules. The first is a module for tracking the surgical tool position on both stereo images. The second is a disparity tracking module for estimating a stereo disparity map of the retinal surface. Both modules were specially tailored for coping with the challenging visualization conditions in retinal surgery. The potential clinical value of the proposed method is demonstrated by extensive testing using a silicon phantom eye and recorded rabbit in vivo data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6212340
Pages (from-to)2291-2301
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2012


  • Proximity detection
  • retinal surgery
  • stereo disparity estimation
  • stereo microscopy
  • surgical tool tracking
  • visual tracking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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