Could Drug-Eluting Contact Lenses Replace Eye Injections?
Drug-eluting contact lenses gradually release medication into the eyes. They are considered a promising alternative to eye drops, which are not always correctly administered by patients. Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Boston Children’s Hospital are exploring uses of these contact lenses for harder to treat areas of the eye, including the retina.
Most retinal diseases require eye injections or implants, which patients want to avoid. In fact, 1 in 4 patients receiving eye injections do not return for follow-up injections due to fear of needles. Because of this, the researchers are testing use of the contact lenses for the dispersal of dexamethasone to treat inflammatory eye diseases.
Findings showed that the contact lenses safely delivered the drug in preclinical animal models of uveitis and macular edema. Specifically, they provided 200x the concentration of hourly eye drops and were as effective as injections.
The researchers hope to begin clinical trials in human patients in the following year.
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