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Published on : Nov 21, 2018

Scientists from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore have invented a contact lens patch with the help of microneedles that could prove to be an efficient and painless option for treating eye-related conditions such as macular degeneration and glaucoma. The localized treatments that are available currently, including ointments and eye drops, are challenged by the natural defences poses by the eye – tears and blinking.

Eye injections are effective but can pose a potential risk of eye damage and infection. Eye injections can also be painful, which lead to several patients opting out of the prescribed routine for their eye diseases; most eye diseases call for long-term treatment for effective cure.

The proof-of-concept patch made by the team demonstrated successful use in mice. Biodegradable microneedles cover the patch, delivering medications into the eye in a controlled release manner. After gently and briefly pressing the patch into the surface of the eye -  like contact lenses are put -  the drug-containing, biodegradable microneedles separate from the patch by themselves and remain in the cornea, thus releasing the drug contained in them as they go on to dissolve over the course of time.

When the patch was tested in mice having corneal vascularization, a single patch was nearly 90% more effective in easing the condition as compared to the application of a single eye drop having nearly 10 times more drug concentration. This new approach to treating eye conditions was published in the journal Nature Communications.

The new patch could be a breakthrough in the field of eye diseases and could allow efficient and long-lasting drug delivery with effective compliance. The microneedles used in the patch are made from a material that is naturally found in the body and it has been demonstrated in the mice study that the needles are minimally invasive and painless.