Glaucoma is a family of diseases that is characterized by increased eye pressure. There is currently no cure for glaucoma, so doctors and researchers are always seeking improved treatment methods to help control internal eye pressure and preserve vision.
One of the traditional methods of glaucoma treatment is medicated eye drops which help maintain a safe level of eye pressure. While the drops are non-invasive and safe, many glaucoma patients forget to administer their eye drops or do not administer them correctly, which results in uncontrolled eye pressure.
For almost 50 years, researchers have attempted to design a contact lens that would deliver medication for chronic eye conditions, and they have finally developed a product that is almost ready for human trials. A specialized contact lens is coated with a thin film of drug-encapsulated polymers. The polymers release the drug slowly from the outer part of the lens, while the inside of the lens remains clear for vision.
To test the effectiveness of the medicated contact lens, the researchers tested the product on four monkeys, each with glaucoma in one eye. Over a period of nine weeks, the monkeys wore low-dose contact lenses for one week, used medicated eye drops for five days, wore high-dose contact lenses for one week, and had breaks of three weeks with no treatment between each type of drug delivery.
The research team found that the contact lenses were successful in lowering eye pressure. The contacts with the low dose of medication were more effective in maintaining a safe level of intraocular pressure than the medicated eye drops, even though the drops contained a higher concentration of medication. The contact lenses with the high dose lowered intraocular pressure the most effectively, but more studies need to be conducted before human clinical trials begin (Source: UPI).
This study gives hope for new glaucoma treatment options that are more effective than the existing treatments. If you have glaucoma, be sure to make regular appointments with your ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam. Routine eye examinations are the best way to monitor your eye pressure and preserve your vision for years to come.