The concept of using contact lens for ocular drug-delivery applications is now one step closer to reaching the clinic. Researchers at Massachusetts recently reported on the development of a drug-eluting contact lens designed to provide prolonged delivery of the glaucoma medication, latanoprost.
In vitro and in vivo studies showed an initial burst of drug release from the contact lens followed by sustained release of latanoprost for one month. Drug levels in the aqueous humor were comparable to those achieved with topical latanoprost solution (eye drops), which is currently first-line treatment for glaucoma. These findings, available online, will be published in the January issue of Biomaterials.
The contact lens was made with materials that are FDA-approved for use on the eye. Latanoprost-poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) films were encapsulated in methafilcon by ultraviolet light polymerization. The drug-polymer film at the periphery controls drug release.
“The lens we have developed is capable of delivering large amounts of drug at substantially constant rates over weeks to months,” said Professor Daniel Kohane, director of the Laboratory for Biomaterials and Drug Delivery at Boston Children’s Hospital, in a press statement.
According to Joseph Ciolino, MD, lead author of the paper, eye drops are an inefficient method of drug delivery with poor patient adherence. “A non-invasive method of sustained ocular drug delivery could help patients adhere to the therapy necessary to maintain vision in diseases like glaucoma, saving millions from preventable blindness,” Ciolino added.
The contact lens has a clear central aperture and can be made with no refractive power or with the ability to correct refractive error in nearsighted or farsighted eyes. The novel design can be used as a platform for other ocular drug-delivery applications.