WAIKOLOA, Hawaii — Bandage contact lenses, which provide pain relief and comfort from exposed nerve endings that occur with corneal maladies such as corneal abrasions from corneal dystrophies, neurotrophic keratopathy, bullous keratopathy and postsurgical states, may also be developed into drug delivery vehicles, a speaker said here.
“The motivating factor for this development is that the eye, the cornea in particular, has a very strong bioprotective mechanism. It allows low permeability of medicine to get into the eye. We know that the tear fluid that drains into the nasal cavity only allows about 1% to 5% of drops to be absorbed,” Nicoletta Fynn-Thompson, MD, said at Hawaiian Eye 2013.
To compensate, medications have been formulated as suspensions, emulsions, gels, ointments and fornix inserts, but none are ideal, she said. Glaucoma patients in particular have compliance issues with multiple medications that must be instilled in the eye.
The challenge of the bandage contact lens as a drug delivery mechanism is increasing drug release duration without affecting vision or oxygen permeability, while simultaneously allowing for better permeation and absorption of the drug, she said.
Drug delivery via bandage contact lens would minimize systemic complications, and by limiting tear exchange, bioavailability would increase to 50%, Fynn-Thompson said.
“Simultaneously we can correct vision, particularly those with presbyopia, and those patients who are aging, or who are baby boomers, are quite comfortable wearing contact lenses,” she said.
Disclosure: Fynn-Thompson has no relevant financial disclosures.