There could be hope for people who have to spend large sums of money on bottles of eye medication – no, the medicine won't be getting less expensive, but a bottle of it may last much longer. That's because scientists have developed an electronic microdosing system that's considerably more efficient than current technology.
With a conventional eye dropper, the drops that it creates are four to five times larger in volume than what the human eye can accommodate. That means we're essentially overdosing on eye medication, with all the extra fluid either running down our cheeks or entering the body through ducts in the corner of the eye.
As a result, not only is medication wasted, but side effects such as redness, itching, irritation, and dry eye can occur.
It was with this in mind that a team from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai developed the microdosing system. It delivers less than a quarter of the volume of medication, in the form of tiny droplets, while still achieving a treatment effect comparable to that of a regular eyedropper. What's more, it does so in just 80 milliseconds.
In lab tests, it was used to deliver a drug that ophthalmologists commonly use to dilate the pupil. As compared to a control group that used a conventional eyedropper, test subjects in the microdosing group responded just as well, yet with significantly fewer side effects. They also had lower levels of the drug in their bloodstream.
The research was led by Dr. Tsontcho Ianchulev, and was recently presented at the 121st Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Ianchulev anticipates that clinical trials may begin sometime within the next 12 months.