Put a ring on it

A new circular device slowly releases glaucoma medication onto the surface of the eye


A slow-release medication-dispensing device that sits on the eye could be the solution to patients who forget or discontinue their glaucoma eye drops.

In a Phase 2 clinical trial, the silicone-made device containing the glaucoma drug bimatoprost reduced intraocular pressure in patients by about 20% after six months of use, according to the paper published in the journal Ophthalmology.

The ring-like device that sits under the eyelid can be fitted without surgery, and is designed to dispense a medication for six months.

Study co-author and University of California, Davis, researcher, Dr James Brandt, said some patients struggled to complete their daily glaucoma regime.

Patients who forgot to take their drops, or were limited by physical ailments like arthritis, are a well-known problem, he said.

The journal article highlighted another study that showed half of all glaucoma patients stopped taking their prescription medication after a year, leaving them at risk of eye damage and vision loss.

Dr Brandt said the device was safe and well tolerated, with an 89% retention rate. The ring was dislodged in 15 patients, but was replaced for each study participant.

He explained: “In making effective treatments easier for patients, the hope is that we can reduce vision loss from glaucoma, and possibly other diseases.”

A Phase 3 clinical trial using the device was set to begin later this year. The side effects noted in the trial – itchiness and eye redness – were similar to those seen in patients using glaucoma eye drops, the paper noted.