A team of American researchers has developed a drug-eluting contact lens that can provide prolonged delivery of latanoprost, a common drug used for the treatment of glaucoma, making a eye drop-free world another step closer to reality.
The study's lead author Joseph Ciolino from Massachusetts Eye and Ear 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.
The contacts were designed with materials that are FDA-approved for use on the eye. The latanoprost-eluting contact lenses were created by encapsulating latanoprost-polymer films in commonly used contact lens hydrogel.
Professor Daniel Kohane, director of the Laboratory for Biomaterials and Drug Delivery at Boston Children's Hospital, said that drug they have developed is capable of delivering large amounts of drug at substantially constant rates over weeks to months.
The lenses appeared safe in cell culture and animal studies. This is the first contact lens that has been shown to release drugs for this long in animal models.
The newly designed contact lens has a clear central aperture and contains a drug-polymer film in the periphery, which helps to control drug release. The lenses can be made with no refractive power or with the ability to correct the refractive error in near sided or far sided eyes.
The study will be published in journal Biomaterials.