Medication-releasing contact lens could treat glaucoma

Contact lenses that release latanoprost are at least as effective as latanoprost drops in reducing intraocular pressure, study finds.

Retinal image of the eye of a woman with glaucoma

Eye drops to reduce intraocular pressure (IOP) are the first-line treatment for glaucoma, but they are associated with poor adherence because of difficulties with self-administration, as well as stinging and burning sensations. 

Researchers at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, developed a drug-eluting contact lens that can continuously release the prostaglandin analogue latanoprost. They tested it in four monkeys with induced glaucoma over one week. 

The team found that wearing the lenses significantly reduced IOP at multiple time points compared with baseline. Both doses tested were at least as effective as latanoprost 0.005% drops in reducing IOP, the researchers report in Ophthalmology (online, 29 August 2016)[1]

The team say that more work will be needed to determine the optimal continual-release dosage but contact-lens delivery could become a new treatment option for glaucoma.


 [1] Ciolino JB, Ross AE, Tulsan R et al. Latanoprost-eluting contact lenses in glaucomatous monkeys. Ophthalmology 2016. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2016.06.038

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, October 2016, Vol 8, No 10;8(10):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201689

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