Israeli researchers at Bar-Ilan University are working on eye drops that use nanotechnology to correct a person’s vision. In a few decades, these Nano-Drops could treat common vision problems and eliminate the need for glasses, contacts, and laser surgery.
Scientists involved in this project developed special synthetic nanoparticles that can penetrate a patient’s corneas to correct refractive disorders. According to researchers, Nano-Drops are targeted to treat people who suffer from myopia, presbyopia, and hyperopia.
Before using these Nano-Drops, of course, a patient needs to get a standard vision test. This could be done either in an optometrist’s office or on a professional vision-screening app.
Patients who qualify for Nano-Drops will then need to get a minimally invasive laser surgery. During this procedure, surgeons gently create tiny indentations in the patient’s corneas, which the nanoparticles will then use to change the eye’s refractive patterns. Doctors say this surgery only takes one or two minutes.
So far, doctors have tested these Nano-Drops on ten pigs with positive results. All of the pigs in this study had mild near- or far-sightedness.
In the near future, researchers hope to try their Nano-Drops on a group of rabbits. It will probably take a few years before scientists can test Nano-Drops on humans.
While the technology behind these drops is impressive, investigators say there’s a long way to go before Nano-Drops hit the market. One problem with Nano-Drops is that they only work on mild cases of near- or far-sightedness.
Another issue with this technology has to do with the laser procedure. Since the incisions that are made are so small, the corneas naturally regrow over time. This means patients would need to go for laser treatments every few months for the Nano-Drops to be effective.
Dr. Zeev Zalevsky, who teaches Electro-Optics and Nanotechnology at Bar-Ilan University, is a lead researcher on the Nano-Drops project. People can learn more about the recent study using pigs on the European Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgeons’ website.