Engineering Minute

Engineering Minute – Eye Disease Treating Contact Lens

Scientists at Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore, have developed a contact lens patch for treatment of glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other eye diseases. The lens patch contains biodegradable microneedles that would release drugs painlessly and efficiently. After gently pressing on the eyes surface, the microneedles release from the patch, staying in the cornea and releasing drugs overtime as it dissolves.   


eye disease treating contact lens
The eye patch for ocular drug delivery is equipped with an array of self-implantable micro-drug-reservoirs. Credit: NTU Singapore.
“The microneedles are made of a substance found naturally in the body, and we have shown in lab tests on mice that they are painless and minimally invasive. If we successfully replicate the same results in human trials, the patch could become a good option for eye diseases that require long-term management at home, such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy," said Professor Chen Peng, team lead at the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Nanyang Technical University. "Patients who find it hard to keep up with the regime of repeatedly applying eye drops and ointments would also find the patch useful as well, as it has the potential to achieve the same therapeutic effect with a smaller and less frequent dosage.”


From the Nanyang Technological University article: "Conventional eye injections can penetrate the surface barriers, but face the same problem or poor drug retention due to the backflow of injected solution and subsequent tear wash-out. Aside from carrying a risk of infection or permanent eye damage, patient compliance is poor due to pain and the need for frequent clinic visits. To tackle these problems, the team developed a 2mm by 2mm patch with nine microneedles that can be loaded with drugs for lab tests. Each needle, thinner than a strand of hair, is shaped like a pyramid for optimal tissue penetration. The needle is made of hyaluronic acid, a substance found in the eye and is used often in eye drops. A modified version of the hyaluronic acid is added to form a second layer of the needle to slow down the rate at which the needle degrades, ensuring a slower release of the drug."


Read more about the eye disease treating contact lens at Nanyang Technological University.