New contact lenses release drugs into the eye, easing glaucoma suffering.
Glaucoma is often recognized as one of the most severe and serious of the different vision problems that commonly affect seniors. Not only is this disease the world’s leading cause of irreversible blindness, but it is often times incurable as well, making it a dangerous disease for the many who are at risk.
The disease itself generally affects both eyes, and is caused when fluid pressure within the eye rises. The liquid in the eye is stored in a small space in the front of the eye called the “anterior chamber.” Typically, liquid flows in and out of this chamber on its own, nourishing and bathing nearby tissues. However, when someone suffers from glaucoma, the fluid in the anterior chamber is not unable to drain properly, causing buildup. When glaucoma is left untreated, a patient can lose significant vision and even become blind.
However, while glaucoma may have no known cure, it can be controlled. Eye drops, laser procedures, pills, surgical operations and more have all been used to prevent or slow the further damage of glaucoma from occurring and removing our vision. And now, researches in the United States have come up with a new type of technology that may help to give release to glaucoma sufferers.
US Researchers have created a new contact lens which releases drugs slowly into the eye which help to ease problematic glaucoma side effects. In fact, this method has been proposed by developers for nearly 50 years to replace inefficient eye drops, but the process has been held up by technology, which left scientists unable to provide a steady dose of medication over time.
However, for the first time in the 50 year period, researchers of this Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology study are now saying that they have developed a lens which can deliver a regulated dose of latanoprost, a common glaucoma drug, for up to a month. This is a key step forward in the fight against the disease.
According to DailyMail: “Cornea specialist Dr Joseph Ciolino said, ‘In general, 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.”
Testing done for these special contact lenses found that the lenses were able to achieve, for one month, latanoprost concentrations in the eye fluid that were comparable to those achieved with eye drops. The treatment may even be able to be worked into the contact lenses in which people already wear to correct their eyesight, meaning that they could combine clear vision and glaucoma correction all in one easy product.
In DailyMail, Professor Daniel Kohane added: ‘The lens we have developed is capable of delivering large amounts of drug at substantially constant rates over weeks to months.’
What do you think about this new, innovative device? Do you think that these drug-releasing contact lenses will help to save millions around the world from preventable blindness through glaucoma? Be sure to let us know your thoughts below!