Researchers in the U.S. have developed drugreleasing contact lenses that ensure glaucoma patients and others get correct and consistent dosages of medication.
They say this could be a significant improvement on the traditional eye drops that ophthalmologists prescribe for these patients, from which the eye absorbs as little as one per cent of the dose.
The findings have been published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (‘A Drug-Eluting Contact Lens’), a peer-reviewed journal from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Eye drops are composed of an initial overdose that is followed by an extended period of under dose.
The prototype, according to the report, is like a jelly doughnut; the lens is the pastry outside and the polymer film is the gooey middle. By constantly “oozing out” medicine, the artificial lens is capable of delivering the proper dosage and increasing the effectiveness of treatment. This increase in effectiveness will be especially welcomed by glaucoma patients, who on average administer their drops accurately at rates between 41 per cent and 76 per cent.
“Compliance is the biggest issue addressed here,” said lead researcher Daniel Kohane, MD, PhD, from Boston’s Children’s Hospital. “People need to be able to properly and easily give themselves medication at home.”
According to the study, several things occur that counteract the effectiveness of the medicine when traditional eye drops are used. Eye drops are composed of an initial overdose that is followed by an extended period of under dose. Only a minimal amount of the dose is actually absorbed by the eye. The rest either runs down the sides of the patient’s face is washed away by reflex tearing or dispersed by blinking.
Not only does the lens prototype replace the sudden splash of the eye drops with a mechanism that constantly delivers medication, but it may be fitted for any dosage of medicine and synced with a person’s current contact lens prescription.
“We expect this prototype to completely change the way people receive ocular medication,” said Kohane. The researchers are taking next steps to begin FDA approval proceedings.