Houston, Texas, USA : Ophthalmologists have invented and patented “nanodrops” which – when placed on pigs’ corneas – have produced improvements in short-sightedness and long-sightedness, a new concept for correcting refractory problems. It’s a solution containing synthetic nanoparticles that correct refractive errors by modifying the refractive index which is the light bending of the cornea.
If they improve vision in humans when clinical testing is carried out later this year, the nanoparticle solution could eliminate the need for eyeglasses, one of the inventors Dr. David Smadja a Shaare Zedek Medical Center and Bar-Ilan University ophthalmologist said.
He was one of the speakers at Shaare Zedek’s second biennial research day, held in the Jerusalem medical center’s Steinberg Auditorium and attended by some of its 350 physicians and nurses.
Smadja revealed that he and colleagues developed the drops at Bar-Ilan University’s Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, and that they could revolutionize ophthalmological and optometry treatment of patients with myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and other refractory conditions. There are even ways to use nanodrops to replace multifocal lenses so that people could see object from various distances, he said.
“This is a new concept for correcting refractory problems,” Smadja added.
Patients would open an application on their smartphone, measure their eye refraction at home, create a laser pattern and then “laser corneal stamping” of an optical pattern onto the corneal surface of their eyes. This has already been done successfully on fresh pig eyes. Drops with a synthetic nanoparticles solution can correct the vision problem. He did not say how often the drops would have to be applied to replace eyeglasses.
Smadja’s work was one of two pieces of research chosen, without the authors’ names being identified, by an impartial team of judges. The two were chosen from among 160 pieces of research that have been carried out by Shaare Zedek physicians and nurses in the last two years. Each year, some 330 articles by the hospital staffers are published in medical and science journals.
A few years ago, the Jerusalem hospital established Shaare Zedek Mada’it (Scientific) as a research and development company for hospital researchers, said Prof. Dan Turner, director of Shaare Zedek’s institute of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition and also research adviser to hospital director-general Prof. Jonathan Halevy. A 186-page, softcover book of abstracts of the research was published by the hospital, and research posters were hung all along the walls of the fifth floor outside the auditorium for all to read.
Another top piece of research was by Dr. Eyal Shteyer of the gastroenterology institute, who reported on his team’s identification of the patient (at Jerusalem’s Misgav Ladach Hospital) who infected seven other patients with hepatitis S when they received contrast medium and underwent a CT scan.
Carrying out a genetic study, they matched the virus in the seven patients to the person whose blood infected them by accident. All the infected patients were treated with expensive medication and cured of a disease that, untreated, could have led to liver cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.
This isn’t the first time though that the use of nanotechnology in eye-drops was investigated. Increasing research in this field has opened new doors in the field of medicine and surgery. There has been significant research done already to develop nanotechnology-based systems to treat ocular diseases.
Researchers at UCL Institute of Opthalmology, London, demonstrated the possibility of creating formulations of tiny nanoparticles loaded with the AMD (age-related macular degeneration) drug Avastin. The resulting eye-drops can be safely and effectively used in patients compared to injecting drugs into the eyes, which is often uncomfortable.
In another recent experiment, researchers from National Taiwan Ocean University developed carbon quantum dots covered with spermidine to treat bacterial eye infections. The researchers believe that the new quantum dots has a good potential to be used in eye-drops to kill antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause keratitis.
The National Eye Institute (NEI) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and is the Federal government’s lead agency for vision research that leads to sight-saving treatments and plays a key role in reducing visual impairment and blindness. Here is some guidance from the NEI about refractive errors.
Facts About Refractive Errors
This information was developed by the National Eye Institute to help patients and their families search for general information about refractive errors. An eye care professional who has examined the patient’s eyes and is familiar with his or her medical history is the best person to answer specific questions.
Refractive errors occur when the shape of the eye prevents light from focusing directly on the retina. The length of the eyeball (longer or shorter), changes in the shape of the cornea, or aging of the lens can cause refractive errors.
What is refraction?
Refraction is the bending of light as it passes through one object to another. Vision occurs when light rays are bent (refracted) as they pass through the cornea and the lens. The light is then focused on the retina. The retina converts the light-rays into messages that are sent through the optic nerve to the brain. The brain interprets these messages into the images we see.
What are the different types of refractive errors?
The most common types of refractive errors are myopia, hyperopia, presbyopia, and astigmatism.
Myopia (nearsightedness) is a condition where objects up close appear clearly, while objects far away appear blurry. With myopia, light comes to focus in front of the retina instead of on the retina.
Hyperopia (farsightedness) is a common type of refractive error where distant objects may be seen more clearly than objects that are near. However, people experience hyperopia differently. Some people may not notice any problems with their vision, especially when they are young. For people with significant hyperopia, vision can be blurry for objects at any distance, near or far.
Astigmatism is a condition in which the eye does not focus light evenly onto the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. This can cause images to appear blurry and stretched out.
Presbyopia is an age-related condition in which the ability to focus up close becomes more difficult. As the eye ages, the lens can no longer change shape enough to allow the eye to focus close objects clearly.
Who is at risk for refractive errors?
Presbyopia affects most adults over age 35. Other refractive errors can affect both children and adults. Individuals that have parents with certain refractive errors may be more likely to get one or more refractive errors.
What are the signs and symptoms of refractive errors?
Blurred vision is the most common symptom of refractive errors. Other symptoms may include: Double vision, Haziness, Glare or halos around bright lights, Squinting, Headaches, Eye strain
How are refractive errors diagnosed?
An eye care professional can diagnose refractive errors during a comprehensive dilated eye examination. People with a refractive error often visit their eye care professional with complaints of visual discomfort or blurred vision. However, some people don’t know they aren’t seeing as clearly as they could.
How are refractive errors treated?
Refractive errors can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses, or surgery.
Eyeglasses are the simplest and safest way to correct refractive errors. Your eye care professional can prescribe appropriate lenses to correct your refractive error and give you optimal vision.
Contact Lenses work by becoming the first refractive surface for light rays entering the eye, causing a more precise refraction or focus. In many cases, contact lenses provide clearer vision, a wider field of vision, and greater comfort. They are a safe and effective option if fitted and used properly. It is very important to wash your hands and clean your lenses as instructed in order to reduce the risk of infection.
If you have certain eye conditions you may not be able to wear contact lenses. Discuss this with your eye care professional.
Refractive Surgery aims to change the shape of the cornea permanently. This change in eye shape restores the focusing power of the eye by allowing the light rays to focus precisely on the retina for improved vision. There are many types of refractive surgeries. Your eye care professional can help you decide if surgery is an option for you.