Taking Your Medicine…Through Your Contact Lenses?

Getting medicine into your eyes can be a tricky proposition.

I can tell you, personally, that when I’ve had prescription eye drops that needed to be used in a certain quantity and on a certain schedule, following those directions was often a challenge.  And, that was for my own personal use!  This past week my son needed prescription drops and getting just one-drop–right into his eye…Goodness, that was tough!

But, to date, if you need medication to get directly into those eyeballs you only have a few choices.  Medicine delivery would depend on injections, surgically implanted devices, taking the medication orally, or topical application.

This last method is, in fact, by far the most common.  Many, many eye issues are treated by way of prescription eye drops.

The problem is that treating diseases such as macular degeneration and glaucoma depend on the patient complying with a pretty rigorous schedule that requires them to apply medicinal eye drops quite frequently.  And, as I can attest to after just a few days on an eye drop schedule, remembering to apply them isn’t as easy at it seems.

In fact, a study of patients who were prescribed eye drops for glaucoma showed that the patient was only using the eye drops in the proper dosage 50% of the time!

That’s why scientists have been trying to find alternative ways to get medicine into the eyes. One of these methods is developing a contact lens that can actually administer the medicine itself.  For a number of years, researchers have worked to develop possible prototypes and they have, most recently, been able to test these experimental lenses on animals.

Don’t worry, though. This isn’t an abusive type of animal testing. In fact, quite the opposite.  A test group of dogs with glaucoma have been sampling the product for glaucoma-drug delivery as well as a group of allergy-prone rabbits have been wearing the lenses to see if they can provide effective allergy medicine relief.

Human trials of allergy-medicine delivering contact lenses have completed the first few phases of testing as well.  It’s clear that in the future there is great hope for a products like these that may eliminate the need for frequent eye drop use and instead provide whatever medicine is needed right to our eyes, when we need it! How wonderful would that be?

Source:  Alex Hui for Contact Lens Update: Clinical Insights Based in Current Research

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