Israeli ophthalmologists are researching nanoparticle eye drops to treat near-sightedness (myopia) and far-sightedness (hyperopia). Scientists at Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Bar-Ilan University are working on a three-step process to correct the cornea. The treatment needs to be repeated every month or two. However, patients should be able to receive the treatment at home using a smartphone. Therefore, the treatment could be widely available and convenient.
Currently, glasses or contact lenses correct refraction errors caused by a too-long eyeball (myopia) or too-short eyeball (hyperopia). Laser treatments such as LASIK can permanently correct many refractive errors. Cataract surgery, in which a surgeon replaces the lens, can also correct refractive errors that are caused by the shape of the eye not directly hitting the center of the retina. Myopia affects about 40% of the U.S. population. Close-up vision is clear, and distance vision is blurred. Hyperopia affects about a quarter of the population. They can see distance clearly, but up-close objects are blurred.
Three-Step Nanoparticle Eye Drop Process
The three steps in the nanoparticle treatment are:
- The patient uses a smartphone to measure their eyes’ refraction.
- A minor 1-second laser treatment projects a corrective pattern on the cornea.
- The patient uses nanoparticle eyedrops (nanodrops).
During Step 2, the laser leaves tiny patterns on the cornea. The nanodrops fill in the patterns, correcting refraction errors. While LASIK treatments remove parts of the cornea, this treatment only affects the surface of the cornea.
The corneal surface eventually heals. Then, the process must be repeated.
Animal studies are underway. The treatment may be available to the public by 2020.
Source: “Nanodrops for restoring refractive errors” by D.Smadja ISRAEL, J. Lellouche R. Ishay Ben Y. Harel Z. Zalevskyin Poster Session Keratorefractive Results II, Lisbon 2017 XXXV Congress of the ESCRS