Chemical engineer Myro Korogiannaki, a McMaster Ph.D. candidate, has found a way to use contact lenses to deliver medication to the eyes for glaucoma patients. Korogiannaki discovered that using hyaluronic acid, a component found in tears, delivers medication to the eye in a controlled way.
Traditionally, glaucoma patients use medicated eye drops twice every day to keep inner eye pressure at a safe level. Glaucoma drops are not effective for many reasons, one of which is that only five percent of the drug makes it to the cornea. The other 95 percent is absorbed by the skin around the eye or in the bloodstream. Another disadvantage is that patients often forget their drops, and intraocular pressure cannot be effectively controlled.
There are many advantages of using contact lenses to deliver medication. Because contacts are placed directly against the eye, the drugs can be in contact with the cornea for a longer period of time. They can also administer medication over the course of several days and maybe even eliminate the need for glaucoma drops.
Korogiannaki is dedicated to finding the most efficient way to administer medication to the front and back of the eye, so she will continue her research. She is employed by Heather Sheardown, a well-respected Canadian chemical engineer. Sheardown was named Canada Research Chair in Ophthalmic Biomaterials and Drug Delivery Systems. Much of her work has been dedicated to developing new formulas for eye drops and biomaterials for contact and implanted lenses (Source: Medical Xpress).