Could we soon see eye drops used to combat shortsightedness?
Are sufferers of shortsightedness close to being able to ditch their glasses? Recent Israeli research into eye drops designed to correct shortsightedness gives pause for thought.
The man behind the concept
The idea comes from Dr. David Smadja, an ophthalmologist at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. As he explained to (interview in french), he developed the concept from his own experience: “I was in front of my computer screen, with a headache, blurred vision and dry eyes. And I suddenly thought of drops. What if we didn’t need glasses at all and a few drops could soothe the eyes and improve vision at the same time? Why not?”. The idea has evolved since then, and teams of researchers are currently working on a concept that could be life-changing for some glasses and contact lens-wearers.
How eye drops could cure shortsightedness
Dr. David Smadja’s technique involves modifying the journey of light through the eye. And that’s where shortsightedness originates: a myopic eye has difficulty capturing the light, as it is not the right shape to do so. The first step in the new technique will be laser treatment tomake tiny holes, each the size of a single cell, in the cornea. Adapted to each patient’s individual prescription, these marks on the eye will eventually be what will improve vision. The eye drops can then fill the holes made by the laser, allowing the liquid to help light to cross the eye in the normal manner, correcting the fault in the sufferer’s vision.
Where are we at in development?
The solution was trademarked a year ago, but the eye drops have only been tested on pigs so far. Why pigs? Because their genetic make-up is the closest to ours. Early tests have been encouraging, however more research is needed and testing on humans is set to being in early 2021.