Glaucoma is a name used to describe a collection of eye conditions that if not treated can cause blindness. In the UK alone some 480,000 people have the chronic form of glaucoma. This is the most common form of glaucoma and develops very slowly.
The effect occurs when the eyes drainage tubes become blocked, when fluid cannot drain away properly pressure builds up causing possible damage to the optic nerve, and the nerve fibres from the retina. Chronic glaucoma can be treated reasonably easily with eye drops, however if you’ve ever taken eye drops before for a medical condition you might know why so many patients administer wrong doses and generally have problems maintaining the course of treatment prescribed.
For nearly fifty years contact lenses have been proposed as a possible route to alleviate this problem and replace eye drops with a controlled drug release system, but this has proved a challenge with difficulty in managing controlled release and release of extended periods of time.
Now eye drops for treating glaucoma and other eye diseases may become a thing of the past thanks to a group of scientists based in the USA. The scientists have developed a contact lens that can deliver the correct amount of the drug latanoprost to treat the condition successfully. The latanoprost delivering contact lens were created by encapsulating polymer films with the drug in typical contact lens hydrogel.
Early results look encouraging, and more work is taking place to ensure this method might at last see the end to eye drops, which many patients find difficult to use.
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