Conventional light-activated therapies, such as photodynamic therapy (PDT), photochemical tissue bonding (PTB), collagen crosslinking (CXL), low-level light therapy (LLLT), and antimicrobial therapy utilize external light sources and light propagation through free space, limiting treatment to accessible and superficial areas of the body. Recent progress has been made in developing biocompatible polymer waveguides to enhance light delivery to deep tissues. To further expand clinical utility, waveguides should be flexible and tough enough to enable use in anatomically difficult-to-reach regions, while having the requisite optical properties to achieve uniform and efficient illumination of the target area. Here, we present a new class of flexible polymer waveguides optimized for uniform light extraction into tissues. Our slab waveguides comprise two designs: first, a flexible polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) based elastomer for CXL, and second, a tough polyacrylamide and alginate hydrogel for large-area phototherapies. Our waveguides are optically transparent in the visible wavelengths (400-750 nm) and a multimode fiber is used to couple light into the waveguide. We characterized the light propagation through the waveguides and light extraction into tissue, and validated our results with optical simulation. By changing the thickness and scattering properties, uniform light extraction through the length of the waveguide could be achieved. We demonstrate proof-of-concept scleral photo-crosslinking of an ex vivo porcine eyeball for prevention of myopia.
Moonseok Kim, Sheldon J. J. Kwok, Harvey H. Lin, Dong Hee Lee, and Seok Hyun Yun, "Flexible polymer waveguides for light-activated therapy (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10058, Optical Fibers and Sensors for Medical Diagnostics and Treatment Applications XVII, 1005807 (Presented at SPIE BiOS: January 28, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2251643.5371911261001.
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