RAMAT GAN, ISRAEL - Researchers have developed an eye drop technology they say could provide an alternative to eyeglasses, contact lenses and laser correction for refractive errors.
The technology, called Nano-Drops, achieves its optical effect and correction by locally modifying the corneal refractive index. It was developed by researchers at Bar-Ilan University's Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials.
According to a press release from the university:
The magnitude and nature of the optical correction is adjusted by an optical pattern that is stamped onto the superficial layer of the corneal epithelium with a laser source. The shape of the optical pattern can be adjusted for correction of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) or presbyopia (loss of accommodation ability). The laser stamping onto the cornea takes a few milliseconds and enables the nanoparticles to enhance and 'activate' this optical pattern by locally changing the refractive index and ultimately modifying the trajectory of light passing through the cornea.
In the future, the researchers say, the technology could enable patients to have their vision corrected at home. They would open an application on their smartphone to measure their vision, connect the laser source device for stamping the optical pattern at the desired correction, and then apply the Nano-Drops to activate the pattern.
Upcoming experiments in rabbits will allow the researchers to determine how long the effect of the Nano-Drops will last after the initial application.
The university notes that the laser stamping source is not related to the commonly known laser treatment for visual correction that ablates corneal tissue.
"It is rather a small laser device that can connect to a smartphone and stamp the optical pattern onto the corneal epithelium by placing numerous adjacent pulses in a very speedy and painless fashion," the release explains. "Tiny corneal spots created by the laser allow synthetic and biocompatible nanoparticles to enter and locally modify the optical power of the eye at the desired correction."
A patent related to the technology has been filed by Birad - Research & Development Company Ltd., the commercializing company of Bar-Ilan University.