This “nanoparticle” eye drop will soon make you throw away your lenses and glasses forever
We talked about how high tech smart glasses can give the blind the ability to see, and it’s really amazing to see the kind of technology that can change a life like that.
But what if you could find a better way to cure blindness, rather than developing technology to just alleviate it?
It might actually be possible, according to a new study from Israel’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Bar-Ilan University. And it’s not some kind of revolutionary surgical method. No, they’re talking about eye drops that could allow blind people to see.
A team of ophthalmologists from these institutes have invented and tested something they call “nanodrops”. Combined with laser treatment, the team says it can lead to improvements in both myopia and presbyopia (myopia and presbyopia). In fact, everything went so well that they actually started human clinical trials later this year.
“The invention has three parts,” Zeev Zalevsky, who worked on the project, told Digital Trends. The first involves an app on the person’s smartphone that measures their eye refraction. Then, a laser pattern is created on the surface of their cornea, the microsurgery taking less than a second to perform. After that, they use “special nanoparticle” eye drops, as Zalevsky calls them.
“These nanoparticles penetrate the shallow ablation patterns generated on the surface of the cornea,” he said. “They change the refractive index within these patterns. This fixes the user’s visual problem. The correction process can be done at home without the need of a doctor.
This method is very different from traditional laser surgery, which removes a large part of the cornea. With the team’s new method, only a top layer is affected anyway. This means that it is not only safer and can be done without medical supervision, but it should also be more effective than current methods.
Unfortunately, because there is such a small change to the cornea, it will heal over time, meaning that the improvements in eyesight will subside. For this reason, patients will need to repeat this process themselves every one to two months.
“We have shown that the nanoparticles penetrate the surface patterns and without them no correction is obtained,” Zalevsky said. “We are now raising funds to commercialize this technology. We intend to complete in-vivo testing within a year, and hopefully within two years the product will be available on the market.
So maybe you won’t have bionic eyes yet, or even super effective smart glasses, but even being able to treat near-blindness yourself at home is always a plus, right?