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Enhanced Humans

New Contact Lenses Slow-Release Drugs to Fight Glaucoma

Removing pain from treatment is a better way to go.

Jelor GallegoSeptember 11th 2016

Wearing your Meds

Upgrading contact lenses has been one of the go to means of enhancing the human body. From allowing them to communicate with technology to helping dispense medicine, advancements in contact lenses look like they will be one of the bioenhancements of the future.

One study is looking to refine the way we deliver medicine via contact lenses. A team of American scientists have created contact lenses that deliver drugs in a slower and more controlled manner, leading to better results.

These new lenses were tested specifically on monkeys with glaucoma. This disease, which causes pressure to build up behind the eye damaging the optic nerve, is a leading cause of blindness. Current medication comes in the form of eye drops, but these can cause stinging and burning, which means people take them less than required.

Dispensing them in the form of contact lenses is seen as a way to solve the compliance issue, removing the problems in self-administration.

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Photo credit: John Earle Photography

Improvements

These new lenses actually build up on a 2014 study which described these slow-delivery lenses. They have a strip on the periphery of the lenses that houses the medicine, keeping the center clear to not obstruct vision.

“Instead of taking a contact lens and allowing it to absorb a drug and release it quickly, our lens uses a polymer film to house the drug, and the film has a large ratio of surface area to volume, allowing the drug to release more slowly,” said senior author Daniel S. Kohane, M.D., Ph.D. in a statement. The medication was tested in two different doses. One set had a lower dose of the drug, and performed as well as commercially-available eye drops. Meanwhile, the other lens with a higher dose of the drug seemed to have worked even better, but further testing is needed to confirm the results.

The study was published in the journal Opthalmology.

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