Roughly 75 percent of the American population requires visual correction, according to the Vision Council of America. Whether the method of correction is glasses, contact lenses, or surgery, I can tell you that from personal experiences that they are not comfortable.
However, there is a solution in the works. Developed by the Bar-Ilan University’s Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials (BINA), Nano-Drops are the potential next step in ophthalmology. As displayed in the name, these eye drops use nanotechnology to alter the way that light enters the eye. Nanotechnology is the creation and manipulation of particles that are less than 100 nanometers (nm) in width. For reference, these particles are around 0.1% the width of a strand of hair.
These Nano-Drops address the three most common eyesight and vision problems. The problems caused by hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), and presbyopia (age related visual impairment) are all due to what are called “refractive errors.” This typically happens because of physical problems such as the length of the eyeball of the size and width of the lens.
Rather than providing an extra lens like contacts or glasses, the researchers at BINA use the method of a patient-personalized laser pattern that creates a small imprint on the patient’s cornea. The nanoparticles fill in the crevices, which changes the cornea’s refraction index. This allows the corrects the visual impairment and allows for better focus. This is a better alternative to laser eye surgery (LASIK), since it is less invasive, and happens within seconds, which is significantly quicker.
Even though this technology is not yet readily available, it won’t just be a trip to the pharmacy to fix your eyes. You will need to have an eye exam to test your refraction, whether it is through an app or an in-person exam with an eye doctor. Then the drops will be prescribed to the individual patient, and administered at a later date.
Unfortunately, as stated previously, the Nano-Drops are not yet available. However, it has already been tested on pigs, and has cured myopia in them, which is incredibly promising. The BINA researchers hope to test on rabbits next, and eventually humans. While this magical technology has not yet arrived, it gives us hope for the near future.