Smart Contact Lenses Could Make Eye Drops Obsolete
A team led by Mark Byrne made up of biomedical and chemical engineers from the Auburn University, have established a method by which eye drugs can be administered by wearing a new kind of contact lenses.
As long as the patient wears the contact lenses an exact drug dose will be released at no certain interval. The contact lenses release a constant flow of active substance without interfering with vision or can do just that while correcting vision problems. The drug classes that can be stored and released from the new contact lenses are antibiotics, allergy drugs and NSAIDs.
Eye drops can soon be obsolete according to Byrne. Their results show that a constant substance concentration and constant active substance flow is achieved throughout the using period. The result is one hundred time better than a conventional treatment which is based on repeated drug administration via eye drops. These impressive numbers are a real threat to conventional eye drops. The new contact lenses can be used up to one day in the case of daily wear lenses or up to one month for the extended type. On the other hand, eye drops can be useful up to thirty minutes before being washed away by tears, therefore multiple doses are required.
A key difference between other contact lenses technologies and Byrnes’s lenses is controlled release administration process achieved by using a type of drug memory in the lenses structure, preserving in the same time other basic features of the lens.
The paper “Sustained In Vivo Release From Imprindet Therapeutic Contact Lenses”, demonstrates how Bryne’s team managed to administer a specific drug for a prolonged period of time using a molecular imprinted contact lens worn by a laboratory rabbit. This is a world premiere, as it is the first type when an effective dose of a certain drug was found present in tears for the whole period of lens use.
Nowadays eye drops swallow 90% of the market share but they are quite difficult to use and efficiency is poor according to Byrne. The new contact lenses bring increased efficacy, zero missed doses which can lead to better eye health.