In the world, myopia is becoming more and more serious, which has become a major health problem. As children in modern society spend less time outdoors exposed to light, it is estimated that nearly half of the world’s people will be short-sighted by 2050, compared with only one quarter of the population in 2000. Myopia is particularly serious in East Asia. Now 60% of Chinese teenagers are myopic.
In the latest nature photonics, Sinisa vukelic of Columbia University has developed a non-invasive method to permanently correct the vision of myopic patients, which shows great potential in preclinical models.
Vukelic uses a technology called a femtosecond oscillator (1 femtosecond = 10 ^ – 15 seconds), which can produce extremely low energy and high frequency lasers to selectively change the local biochemical and biomechanical properties of corneal tissue. The method developed by vukelic corrects vision by changing the macroscopic geometry of the corneal tissue. The laser produces low-density plasma in the focus area, but its energy is not enough to destroy the tissue in the treatment area. As a result, patients do not need surgery and have fewer side effects and limitations than corneal surgery. For example, patients with congenital thin corneas, dry eyes and other eye diseases cannot undergo corneal surgery. This study is expected to completely cure myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism and other eye diseases.
“Our study should be the first time that this special laser has been used to noninvasively change corneal curvature, or to treat other clinical symptoms.” Vukelic said. He is currently a lecturer in the Department of mechanical engineering at Columbia University.
“In multiphotography, we can see low-density plasma, which is often seen as an undesirable side effect,” vukelic said. “We now turn this side effect into a new way to improve the mechanical properties of keratin tissue.”
The key point of vukelic’s method is that the introduction of low-density plasma will lead to the ionization of water molecules in cornea. The ionizing process produces reactive oxygen species (an unstable molecule that can easily react with other molecules in the cell) and react with keratin to form chemical bonds or cross-linking.
When vukelic applies this method to the cornea, the chemical crosslinking introduced will change the properties of the corneal tissue at the target, and eventually lead to the changes of the macro structure of the whole cornea. The principle of this therapy is to ionize the target molecules in the cornea, thus avoiding optical damage to the corneal tissue. Because this is a photochemical process, it will not cause tissue disorder, and the curative effect can be maintained all the time.
“What’s particularly exciting is that our approach is not limited to eye treatment, it can also be applied to other keratin rich tissues,” vukelic added. “We’ve been working with Professor Gerard ateshian’s lab to try to treat osteoarthritis in this way. At present, the preliminary test results are very good. We think that this non-invasive therapy has great potential, it opens the way to the non-invasive repair of keratin tissue
Once the clinical trial is successful, people who have been troubled by myopia for many years will be able to get rid of this pain. They will no longer need to wear glasses every day. Although we can cure myopia by medical treatment, we still need to protect our eyes from further myopia,