Drug-delivering contact lenses on the horizon

Eye drops could be obsolete

Almost 90 per cent of eye medication comes in the form of eye drops, Wired reports; but beyond being unpopular and awkward to use, drops just don’t work that well. Less than 10 per cent of the medication actually gets absorbed into the eye. For nearly a decade, researchers have been working on contact lenses that can deliver eye medication, but they’ve struggled to make one that releases a continuous supply of drugs. Now, scientists are reporting they’ve created a model that can deliver a constant amount of antibiotic for more than 30 days. Previous designs dissolved medication into the hydrogel that contacts are made of, but this new design is more like a “pita pocket,” researchers report. The prototype has been tested with ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic often used against eye infections. In experiments, the lense released about 134 micrograms of the drug each day for 30 days, which was enough to block bacterial growth. Animal testing is next, and human testing is expected to begin in a year or so.


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