What will they think of next?
A team of ophthalmologists has invented and tested “nanodrops” that could make prescription eyeglasses as old-fashioned as a good blood-letting.
The team at Israel’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Bar-Ilan University found that the nanodrops, combined with a laser process, improved vision for both both near- and far-sightedness — but only on pig eyes. Clinical testing on humans will begin later this year (which means you could literally be a guinea “pig” [sorry]).
The process works in three steps, Zeev Zalevsky, professor of electrical engineering and nanophotonics at Bar-Ilan University, who worked on the project, told Digital Trends.
The first of these steps involves an app on the patient’s smartphone or mobile device that measures their eye refraction. A laser pattern is then created and projected onto the corneal surface of the eyes. This surgical procedure takes less than one second. Finally, the patient uses eyedrops containing what Zalevsky describes as “special nanoparticles.”
“These nanoparticles go into the shallow ablated patterns generated on the surface of the cornea,” he explained. “They change the refraction index inside of those patterns. This corrects the visual problem the user has. The process of correction can be done at home without the need of a medical doctor.”
Zalevsky said that the treatment differs substantially from regular laser eye surgery, which removes a significant portion of the cornea, the transparent layer that forms the front of the eye. In the new process, only the upper part of the cornea is affected. The benefit of this approach is that, not only does it mean that the treatment can be safely carried out in a patient’s home without medical supervision, but it should prove effective for far more patients.
Unfortunately, the fix is temporary, meaning “patients would need to repeat the process every one to two months to maintain their superior eyesight.”