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pharmiweb.com today | 05 May 2016

Glaucoma Drug-Dispensing Eye Insert Shows Promise as New Option for Patients Struggling to Take Daily Prescription Eye Drops

A new device that slowly releases eye medication may one day be a promising option for the many glaucoma patients who struggle with administering their own daily prescription eye drops. New research shows a medicated silicone ring that rests on the surface of the eye reduced eye pressure in glaucoma patients by about 20 percent over six months. The first published research about this continuous glaucoma drug delivery technology was released online today in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.   ...

Despite the availability of effective therapies, glaucoma remains a leading cause of blindness. Nearly 3 million people in the United States have the condition. It is often marked by elevated internal eye pressure, called intraocular pressure. Medicated eye drops taken daily or twice daily can lower internal eye pressure to help prevent damage to the optic nerve. But studies show that many patients do not take glaucoma eye drops as directed due to factors such as forgetfulness or physical limitations like arthritis.1 Some studies show that half of patients stop taking their prescription glaucoma eye drops after a year, leaving them vulnerable to vision loss.2

Researchers are tackling this challenge of medication adherence with new drug delivery methods. One technology involves a thin silicone ring suffused with medication that slowly releases over time. An ophthalmologist fits the patient with the ring. No surgery is required. The ring is designed to be replaced by an ophthalmologist every six months. This eliminates the need for glaucoma patients to regularly put in medicated eye drops themselves.

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