A revolutionary new eye implant that doctors are referring to as a "breakthrough" could make glasses a thing of the past for millions of people, MailOnline reports.
The implant, which consists of a lens that is surgically implanted into the eye to repair far-sightedness, is called Symfony. Surgeons claim that the implanted lens can restore near-perfect vision to patients, just days after being inserted into their eyes in a procedure that takes minutes.
While surgeons are already able to implant mono-focal lenses for cataract treatment, manufacturers claim the Symfony lenses are the first to mimic natural vision so closely. While multi-focal lenses have been developed before, they generally produce substandard results after being implanted in patient's eyes, giving a "halo" effect or resulting in a lack of smooth focus. According to The Herald Sun, the implants can also be used to treat near-sightedness and astigmatism.
Bobby Qureshi, an ophthalmic surgeon at the London Eye Hospital, said that he could see the implants becoming the "gold standard" for the treatment of far-sightedness, which occurs commonly in people over 40. As an individual ages, the natural lens in their eye begins to stiffen, causing difficulties with their ability to focus. While laser treatment may be an option for some, the lens continues to stiffen over time, mitigating the effects of the procedure. Plastic lenses implanted in the eye, in contrast, don't change over time, making the surgical treatment last a lifetime.
Similar implants are also garnering attention in the United States, as The St. Cloud Times reports. An implant called Visian ICL offers results comparable to the Symfony lens and can be placed during an outpatient procedure that lasts 15 minutes. The lens, which is folded before it is injected into a patient's eye, unfolds after it is implanted, requiring only a small incision to be made in the eye. The Visian implant also has the added benefit of being a reversible procedure, while laser surgery is not.
Implantable lenses are not a new concept in eye treatment. As The Inquisitr has previously reported, three patients were treated for blindness last year by having IMT's, or implantable miniature telescopes, places in their eyes to correct blindness caused by age-related macular degeneration. The procedure, which is FDA approved only for individuals over the age of 75, involves an implant being placed in one eye to replace lost vision, while the patient's other eye is left alone in order to be used for peripheral vision.