British surgeons using laser beams can hone artificial lenses to give better than 20/20 vision
Patients are having their eyes fitted with an artificial lens that allows them to see in high definition.
Surgeons begin the process by implanting the lens into the eye using the standard procedure for cataracts. Then, for the first time in Britain, they can fine-tune the focus of the lens several days later.
The technique gives patients vision so sharp that it is even better than 20/20 — the best an adult can usually hope for. Bobby Qureshi, the first ophthalmic surgeon in the UK to use the lens, described it as "a hugely significant development."
The lens is made from a special light-sensitive silicone, and it can correct both cataracts and the long-sightedness that usually comes with age. By shining ultraviolet light on specific parts of the lens, surgeons can change its shape and curvature, sharpening the image seen by the patient.
Mr Qureshi told Sky News: "We have the potential here to change patients' vision to how it was when they were young. The change is so accurate that we can even make the lens bifocal or varifocal, so as well as giving them good vision at distance we can give them good vision for reading.
"They won't need their glasses at all."
The technique can overcome tiny defects in the eye that cause visual distortions. The lens can be adjusted several times over a period of days until patients have perfect vision. A final blast of light then permanently fixes the lenses' shape.
Gill Balfour was one of the first patients to be fitted with the new lens at the Spire Gatwick Park Hospital. She had the first signs of cataracts and other vision problems. She said: "It's absolutely incredible. To think it's been tailor-made for you, matching any imperfections. It's the way forward, isn't it?"