Packaging eye medication

A new molecular technique ensures the medicine in eye drops doesn’t wash away

07 Sep 2016 by Olivia Wannan

Canadian scientists have created a ‘better’ eye drop – one that hides the medication in the tear film so it is not washed away.

The drug is put into microscopic packets in order to lodge in the base of the tear film, which enables the technique to overcome the common problem with eye drops – that 95% of the medication is washed away by the eye’s defences before it has a chance to take effect.

Speaking about the issue, McMaster University chemist, Professor Heather Sheardown, emphasised that conventional drops are frustratingly inefficient.

She added: “It’s a lousy delivery system. If you can deliver drops to the front of the eye at lower concentrations that work over a longer period, it could be huge.”

A study, published in the journal Biomacromolecules, looking at the molecular packets show such results. These packets dissolve slowly, and could enable patients with dry eye and glaucoma to switch from a daily drop to a weekly drop, Professor Sheardown said.

The research team, funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and The Boris Family Foundation, has been conducting trials evaluating the safety and efficiency of the drops. This work should be completed shortly.

Professor Sheardown said that she hoped the new technique would be utilised in eye drops and available on the market “in the near future.”

Image credit: Lynn Greyling


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