I’ve had to wear glasses all day every day since I was a child. I love my dark frames — and I’ll admit I do look a little strange without them — but it would be nice to be able to ditch them from time to time. I’ve tried contacts, but they dry out my eyes and I always end up falling asleep in them. So when I heard about eye drops (yes, eye drops!), that can improve vision, I was very curious.
An Israeli company, Orasis Pharmaceuticals, has been working on an eye drop that treats presbyopia, the inability to focus on close objects (also known as farsightedness). They have now passed Phase 2 of their development — making them that much closer to being available to the masses.
Presbyopia, which happens to most of us as we enter middle and old age, is typically caused by the loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye. It’s why so many of us, even if we had 20/20 vision in our youth, eventually have to pick up a pair of reading glasses from the drugstore. But instead of fumbling for your frames when you want to curl up with a novel, these corrective eye drops, will clear up your vision for a few hours.
In a recent company study to test both the efficacy and safety of the product, the drops were given to 166 participants across several research centers in the U.S. Results showed they were able to reverse farsightedness for small periods of time — and that they are pretty instant and totally painless.
“We are very encouraged by the results,” Elad Kedar, CEO of Orasis told Forbes. “The results were great not only on the efficacy endpoints, but also on the safety and tolerability, so we are moving as quickly as possible into Phase 3.”
So no, these drops are not a total cure for bad vision, but can offer short-term relief from farsightedness. Although it is promising for those dealing with presbyopia (which according to Forbes, is more than half of individuals over the age of 45), the question is will people really go through the hassle of putting in the drops every time they want to check an email?
“There’s a question of whether or not people will actually use these drops…in order to see a little better up close,” Dr. Eve J. Higginbotham, SM, M.D., a professor of ophthalmology at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania told Forbes. “I am sure there may be a small segment of the population that may choose to put drops in twice a day, but for the vast majority of individuals, using drops twice a day may be a challenge.”
If you’re starting to have trouble seeing when you’re surfing the internet on your phone or reading a magazine, and you don’t want to deal with glasses or are squeamish about contacts, like me, this might just be a perfect solution. But if your eyes are getting increasingly worse and you need glasses all the time, maybe not so much.
It doesn’t seem like I am going to be able to forgo my specs any time soon (that’s okay though, they are pretty cute), but this is undoubtedly an exciting medical breakthrough for those not quite as into wearing glasses as I am.