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Thai ophthalmologists land gold medal at prestigious Geneva innovation event

Apr 17. 2018
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By The Nation

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A team of Thai ophthalmologists from the Pathum Thani-based Thammasat Eye Centre has won a gold medal at the “46th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva” for their “uniquely selected music for reduction of anxiety and pain in patients undergoing cataract surgery”.

Team leader Dr Sakchai Wongsakittirak said on Tuesday that cataracts – a clouding of the lens in the eye that affects vision, with most cases related to ageing – was the No-1 cause of blindness in both Thailand and around the world.

Cataract surgery typically is undertaken when the patient is awake to eliminate risks associated with general anesthesia, and this also enables the surgeon to communicate with the patient during the procedure.

However, this causes many people to be scared of having surgery and they therefore run the risk of losing their sight by avoiding such a procedure, he explained.

Thammasat Eye Centre’s ophthalmologists therefore collaborated with a German composer to create musical pieces with specific characteristics designed to reduce anxiety and the perception of feeling pain among patients undergoing surgery while awake, Sakchai said.

The centre’s innovative approach has proven to be helpful for the patient experience and yielded better surgical results, as witnessed in its use on 3,000 patients at the facility, he said.

An academic research report about the invention was published in a national journal, the doctor added.

The music-therapy concept also can be useful for other surgeries, such as those in dentistry or small operations.

The innovation was selected by the National Research Council of Thailand and Thammasat University to represent Thailand in the annual international exhibition, which this year featured some 1,000 innovations and was attended by around 700 exhibitors from 40 countries.

The event, dubbed “the world’s most important and largest specialist market place for inventions”, was held from April 11-15 and attracted more than 50,000 visitors.

This was the second consecutive success for Thai teams at the prestigious international exhibition, following last year’s winning of many awards, including the Grand Prix award for Thammasat Eye Centre’s automatic screening for diabetic retinopathy through retinal imaging on smart phones.

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