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PURPOSE: Surgical innovation in ophthalmology is impeded by the physiological limits of human motion, and robotic assistance may facilitate an expansion of the surgical repertoire. We conducted a systematic review to identify ophthalmic procedures in which robotic systems have been trialled, evaluate their performance, and explore future directions for research and development of robotic techniques. METHODS: The Cochrane Library, Embase, MEDLINE, Scopus, and Web of Science were searched. Screening adhered to five criteria: (1) English language; (2) primary research article; (3) human patients; (4) ophthalmological surgery; and (5) robot-assisted surgery. Quality assessment was conducted with Joanna Briggs Institute Tools for Critical Appraisal. The study protocol was registered prospectively (PROSPERO ID CRD42023449793). RESULTS: Twelve studies were included. In comparative studies, there was no difference in the occurrence of ocular harms in robot-assisted procedures and conventional surgery. However, robotic assistance did not demonstrate consistent benefits over manual surgery in terms of effectiveness or practicality, likely reflecting the learning curve associated with these systems. Single studies indicated the potential of robotic assistance to improve the consistency of subretinal drug infusion and efficiency of instrument manipulation in vitreoretinal surgery. CONCLUSIONS: Proof-of-concept studies have demonstrated the potential of robotic assistance to facilitate procedures otherwise infeasible or impractical, and may broaden access to surgery. However, robot-assisted surgery has not yet demonstrated any significant benefits over standard surgical practice. Improving the speed and reducing perioperative requirements of robot-assisted surgery are particular priorities for research and innovation to improve the practicality of these novel techniques. TRANSLATIONAL RELEVANCE: This systematic review summarizes the potential and limitations of robotic systems for assisting eye surgery and outlines what is required for these systems to benefit patients and surgeons.

Original publication




Journal article


Transl Vis Sci Technol

Publication Date





Humans, Robotic Surgical Procedures, Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures, Eye Diseases