Instead of getting eye injections, patients with serious eye diseases may in the near future be eligible for a contact lens-type patch.1 Injections are often recommended for eye diseases such as Wet (advanced) Age-Related Macular Degeneration, macular edema, and diabetic retinopathy. The new patch is inserted painlessly like a contact lens. It delivers tiny microneedles containing medication. The microneedles are made from natural materials and dissolve over time, gradually releasing medicine. Patients would be more likely to stick with a regimen that does not involve eye injections.
Eye Injections: Stick a Needle in My Eye
Patients generally dread eye injections. Injections must be performed in a doctor’s office. Eye injections are not typically painful but can have some negative side effects such as occasionally pain after the injection.
Avastin, Eylea, and Lucentis are injectable medications that shrink existing unwanted blood vessels in the retina and discourage new blood vessel growth for period of time. These anti-VEGF medicines are useful for advanced Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, and swelling under the macula.
Injected steroids reduce inflammation. They include Kenalog, Triesence, and Ozurdex (as a sustained release steroidal implant).
Most diseases treatable with eye injections are chronic, and may require long-term and continuous care. Therefore, patients who put off injections increase their risk of disease progression.
Drops can introduce various medicines into the eye. However, their effect is usually short-lived. Therefore, eye drops are usually a multiple-daily regimen, and are more often used to reduce inflammation.
Microneedles in a Patch
Scientists at Nanyang Technological University have developed and tested a patch containing microneedles. The doctor presses the patch briefly on the eye. The microneedles detach and stay in the cornea. Over time, the microneedles gradually dissolve, steadily releasing medicine.
Tests on animals proved the concept. Mice with corneal vascularization who received the patch had almost double the improvement versus a single, much stronger eye drop.
If the concept pans out, the microneedle patch would be an efficient and pain-free eye drug delivery system.
As always, proper diet, healthy lifestyle habits, management of stress and taking targeted supplements can help support and maintain healthy vision. For more information, go to www.naturaleyecare.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Aung Than, Chenghao Liu, Hao Chang, Phan Khanh Duong, Chui Ming Gemmy Cheung, Chenjie Xu, Xiaomeng Wang, Peng Chen. Self-implantable double-layered micro-drug-reservoirs for efficient and controlled ocular drug delivery. Nature Communications, 2018; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-06981-w ↩