Technological advances in eye surgery and techniques have elevated the field of ophthalmology in recent years. With new treatment and less invasive options sprouting, surgeries have become quicker and precise with shorter downtime for patients. The changes are so radical and fast-paced that vision loss and impairment in old age can now be a thing of the past. The barrier between prevention and blindness will only be intentional disregard to symptoms and ignorance. Breakthroughs in nanotechnology, bionics, and stem-cell therapy and its applications have transformed eye care on a massive scale. Here are five eye technological advances and their application in medicine today.
The bionic eyes are epiretinal or subretinal implants that augment retinal damage through functional prostheses. Although the technology is still in its infancy and could only restore limited vision, it shows great promise. For example, users can detect light and identify high-contrast edges like fixtures and large bold letters without a 100% vision restoration.
Robotics has been growing exponentially since its birth in the 1980s. Nanobots can be implanted into the system to locate and identify diseases and predisposition factors in this day and age; thus, aiding in both diagnosis and prevention. Robotic surgery has also meshed with laser surgery like the Laser-Assisted Situ Keratomileusis.
LASIK eye surgery is a laser refractive surgery procedure to correct vision. It is a long-term alternative to glasses and contact lenses. In LASIK surgery, a specialized cutting laser changes the shape of the cornea to improve vision.
Several people find eyeglasses a nuisance. Similarly, users may risk dry eye flares due to irritation and physical contact with prolonged use of contact lenses. Prescription eye drops can quickly relieve the symptoms of dry eye flares and can offer a solution to the discomfort and chronic pain. However, further diagnostics and assessment are a prerequisite to long-term eye care solutions like LASIK.
The eye is the ideal medium for gene therapy procedures. Since it is relatively self-containing, Adeno virus-carrying (AVV) cells would not affect the bloodstream and other bodily functions. Gene therapy is the process of delivering adenovirus to replace dead cells in the retina. AVV gene therapy functions only to correct blindness brought about by genetic mutations. These genes overdrive the cause of blindness to usher in visual restoration.
The process of optogenetics is closely related to gene therapy. Ultimately, the procedure works by delivering genes that encourage the production of light-sensitive proteins known as Opsin. As a result, Opsin restores damaged photoreceptors of the retina.
The application of nanotechnology in ophthalmology medicine has improved the diagnosis, imaging, and sensing of retinal and macular degradation at the onset of the disease. However, the most outstanding achievement to date is the nanotech drug that can be implanted to address the early stages of glaucoma and cataracts.
Billions all over the world are suffering from vision loss and impairment. Typically, this is due to the lack of access to appropriate health care facilities, and the rest are degenerative conditions that currently do not have an effective treatment yet. Being blind is one of the most life-changing conditions therein. It affects mobility, employment, and overall mental health. Therapeutic methods and research can make remarkable improvements on the blind and visually impaired’s quality of life. Therefore, we must advocate and support studies and research that can address the goal for all eye diseases to be 100% treatable, curable, and preventable.