Eye Matters
January 21, 2014
Glaucoma patients and use of contact lenses to get medication

Researchers from the state of Massachusetts have come up with a contact lens that can constantly provide the correct dosage of medicine into glaucoma patients’ eyes for one month.{{more}}

Researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts Institute of Technology firmly have faith that glaucoma-related eye drops could soon be replaced by the contact lenses.

Research Specifies How Contact Lenses Released Medication Can Replace Eye Drops

According to the Biometrics journal article, the research indicates that an initial surge of the drug was subsequently followed by a constant release of the drug for one month. The researchers feel this method of delivering drugs could possibility be utilized for other eye conditions.

Glaucoma patients currently need eye drops to treat their condition. However, lead author and Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary cornea specialist Dr Joseph Ciolino said, many patients tend to be unable to adhere to the schedule eye drops require. However, the contact lens was designed to treat glaucoma, and be an avenue for other eye-related diseases.

Researchers have demonstrated that using medicine-laced contact lenses is an effective method to treating patients with glaucoma. Millions of people around the world suffer with the debilitating eye disease, with the numbers suspected to be on the increase.

When the optic nerve is damaged, it can lead to advanced, permanent loss of vision. Plus, it is regarded as being the second-leading reason people go blind. While there is no cure for this condition currently, the medication, for the majority of people, can stop additional vision loss.

Glaucoma seldom has symptoms which is why it is so important to be tested regularly.

Lenses Use Polymer Films To Deliver Medication

One of the most common medications prescribed for glaucoma is Latanoprost, usually in eye drop form.

The lenses were developed by compressing drug-filled polymer films into the periphery of a commonly used brand of contact lenses. According to tests, Latanoprost levels in the aqueous humor were similar to levels seen with everyday topical eye drops after one month of using the lenses.

Boston Children’s Hospital Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Director Prof Daniel Kohane said there was excitement about the lenses’ prospects.

He said the lenses have the capability to deliver a significant amount of medication at a consistent rate for months.

Researchers found lenses that contained thicker drug-polymer films would release more of the medication following the first burst.

With placing the films within the lens’ periphery, the center stays clear and will not obstruct or hinder the vision of the wearer. The lenses can also be constructed so that there is no refractive power or can be made to correct far- or near-sightedness.

Dr Ciolino said he understands patients have a hard time following their treatment plan because people tend to forget to use the eye drops. However, he said, a non-invasive option that will deliver the drugs continuously could help patients with glaucoma or other eye-related diseases stick to the plan so that they don’t suffer irrevocable, avoidable blindness.

Dr Kenneth Onu is a resident Consultant Ophthalmologist at the Beachmont Eye Institute/Eyes R Us Send questions to: [email protected]

Tel: 784 456-1210