Good news for patients who need daily eye drops, including those with dry eye and glaucoma: A new eyedropper technology with a microdose delivery system may make it possible to deliver eye medications more precisely than traditional eyedroppers, as well as to reduce waste and prevent dangerous side effects. Results from this study were presented at AAO 2017, the 121st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, in New Orleans, LA, in early November.
Researchers at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, New York City, NY, developed this new microdelivery system, which they have shown to be as effective as traditional eyedroppers while delivering less than four times the amount of drugs.
Microdosing, they found, can reduce the eye’s exposure to drugs and preservatives by 75% to 80%. Side effects, tearing, and blinking were greatly reduced.
“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,” said lead researcher, Tsontcho Ianchulev, MD, MPH, professor of ophthalmology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and director, Ophthalmic Innovation Technology Program, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.
Drops from traditional eyedroppers can be four or five times larger in volume than the human eye can hold. With these large drops, the liquid can overflow, running down the face or draining into the body through the ducts in the corner of the eye.
This new, hand-held system may be capable of delivering precise, single-digit microliter doses of medication to the eye within 80 milliseconds. Dr. Ianchulev and fellow researchers found that microdosed patients had lower levels of drugs in their bloodstream and significantly fewer side effects (8% vs 66% compared with conventional eye drops).
Additional trials will be initiated within the next 12 months to assess this technology in patients with glaucoma and for pupil dilation.
According to Dr. Ianchulev, the first microdosing therapeutic formulation may be available by 2020. He added that microdosing has the potential to be used to treat many eye diseases and conditions, including dry eye, allergic eye disease, and eye infections. The smart electronics of this platform may also be useful in digital health applications such as compliance monitoring, he said.