Monitoring Drug Release in the Human Eye

December
2018

Ophthalmic drugs in the form of eye drops and ointments are used to treat eye infections, glaucoma, allergies, and even migraines. Treatment through the eyes is difficult, and in most cases, less than 5% of the administered drug is effectively absorbed.

The human eye is designed to keep out external substances — patients blink and tear up during treatment, and the corneal membrane itself has low permeability. What does enter has low bioavailability, i.e., only a small portion of the admitted drug has an active effect. Absorbed drugs can even bypass the eye and enter the bloodstream, causing unwanted symptoms.

New methods of ophthalmic drug delivery are in high demand. Contact lenses are a promising solution because they can extend drug residence time and increase bioavailability to more than 50%. Lenses are also relatively easy to use and control.

However, drug loading into the lens and monitoring the progression of drug release is complicated. Conventionally, scientists load drugs into contact lenses simply by soaking them, but most lenses have a low affinity for ophthalmic...

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