New Drug-Dispensing Contact Lenses Could Improve The Treatment Of Glaucoma

First Posted: Sep 01, 2016 03:57 AM EDT

The researchers discovered new drug-dispensing contact lenses that could deliver medication slowly over time. These are equally effective as eye drops in reducing eye pressure in glaucoma patients.

The findings of the study were published online in the journal Ophthalmology. Doctor Joseph Ciolino, an ophthalmologist from Harvard Medical School explained that they found that a lower-dose contact lens produced the same amount of pressure reduction as the latanoprost drops and a higher-dose lens, interestingly enough, had better pressure reduction than the drops in their small study. He further said that the lenses have not only the potential to enhance compliance for patients, but also the potential of providing better pressure reduction than the drops.

The Telegraph reported that the current medications are delivered in the form of eye drops. On the other hand, these sometimes cause burning and stinging. The researchers then premeditated the contact lens to permit for a more ordered drug release by using a tiny film of drug-encapsulated polymers in the periphery. With this, the center of the lens is clear. The patient can then see clearly because the polymer film does not block the vision. Once the lens was inserted into the eye, an initial drug is released then the drug is discharged into the eye on a regular and consistent basis, according to Eye Health Web.

 "If we can address the problem of compliance, we may help patients adhere to the therapy necessary to maintain vision in diseases like glaucoma, saving millions from preventable blindness," said Dr. Ciolino. "This study also raises the possibility that we may have an option for glaucoma that's more effective than what we have today."

Glaucoma is an eye disease that harms the optic nerve and causes loss of vision. The most common type of glaucoma is open-angle glaucoma that develops slowly over time and no pain. On the other hand, the less common type is closed-angle glaucoma that develops gradually or suddenly. The treatments of glaucoma involve medicines, conventional surgery, laser trabeculoplasty or a combination of any of these.

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