Drug-delivery Contact Lenses for glaucoma move ‘closer’

Researchers believe they are one step closer to the development of drug-eluting contact lenses for the treatment of glaucoma,

Contact lenses designed for prolonged delivery of latanoprost, a drug commonly used for glaucoma, have been developed by researchers at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

They were designed with materials which are FDA-approved for use on the eye and were created by encapsulating latanoprost-poylmer films in commonly used contact lens materials.
 
Dr Joseph Ciolino, a corneal specialist from Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and lead author of the paper, told News Medical: “Eye-drops are an inefficient method of drug delivery that has notoriously poor patient adherence. “This contact lens design can potentially be used as a treatment for glaucoma and as a platform for other ocular drug delivery applications.”
 
The AOP’s professional adviser, Geoff Roberson told OT: “Patient compliance with using their eye drops in glaucoma is recognised to be a significant problem and if this development does indeed produce a viable alternative to drops, it could improve compliance.
 
“It does, however, seem as though there are still some hurdles to overcome before it could become a reality with human trials yet to come, and we don’t yet know how the human cornea will tolerate full-time wear of a contact lens and the drug in combination.”
 
OT clinical editor, Dr Ian Beasley added: “The use of a contact lens as a vehicle for drug delivery should remove the burden of long-term use of eye drops.”
 
The researchers’ findings will be published in the January 2014 issue of Biomaterials.
 
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