Researchers developed a new type of eyedropper that could deliver tiny droplets of medication and treat the eye more accurately than conventional eyedroppers while reducing waste and avoiding dangerous side effects. The technology had the potential to treat especially dry eye and glaucoma, for which patients require daily use of medicated eyedrops. The research was presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
The study revealed that a microdose delivery system was found to be effective treatment compared to a conventional eyedropper. The system delivered less than four times the amount of drug. Microdosing also decreased the eye's contact with the drug and preservative (75-80%) and thus, patients had reduced side effects.
Glaucoma therapy preserved sight by reducing pressure inside the eye. But it also caused painful, irritating side effects for the patients.
A traditional eyedropper delivered a drop that was four to five times larger in volume than the human eye could hold. Oversized eye drops don't just waste medication, they overdosed the eye with medication and toxic preservatives and causes side effects (redness, itching, irritation, and dry eye). Certain topical medications could cause the heart to beat too fast, too slow or irregularly when too much was absorbed into the body.
The researchers evaluated the hand-held system that could deliver accurate, single-digit microliter doses of medication to the eye's surface within 80 milliseconds.
To test the safety and effectiveness of microdosing, the researchers delivered a common drug ophthalmologists use to dilate the pupil and examine the back of the eye. A traditional eyedropper was used to deliver the drug to one patient’s cohort, and microdosing was used to treat another cohort.
Both the methods dilated the pupil. Simultaneously, microdosed patients had lower levels of the drug in their bloodstream and had a considerably lower rate of side effects (8%) when compared to patients treated with conventional eyedrops (66%).
More clinical trials needed further to evaluate the technology for treating glaucoma patients and for pupil dilation. The microdosing technique has the potential to treat a wide variety of eye diseases and conditions (dry eye, allergic eye disease, and infections), he added.
The lead researcher, Dr. Tsontcho Ianchulev said: “We believe that we have developed a viable 21st-century microdosing technology to transform the 100-year old eyedropper paradigm with modern, high-precision smart technology.”