Can Glaucoma Treatment Be As Easy As Wearing Contacts?

By: Bel Marra Health | General Health | Friday, December 27, 2013 - 11:15 AM

Lady having eye test examinationWith nearly 3 million people in the U.S living with glaucoma, considered the leading cause of blindness, a need for convenient treatment is in high demand.

Forget the messy eye drops. Newly developed contact lenses may be the answer. Researchers from Massachusetts Harvard Medical School say these revolutionary lenses are in the works.

Glaucoma is the eye disorder that results from a blockage in the tubes that allows the eye to drain. The fluid in the eye begins to accumulate and pressure increases. That pressure can cause damage to the optic nerve and the nerve fibers in the eye. Open-angle and secondary glaucoma are the two most common types of this eye health disorder, and both can lead to gradual sight loss –and eventual blindness.

Current Glaucoma Treatment Options

When it is caught in the early stages, glaucoma is treatable. Eye drops are used as a treatment, and laser treatment or surgery can help to correct the blockage in the tubes. The degeneration of the human eye cannot be reversed; early detection and intervention is the only way to prevent vision loss.

New Eye Health Treatment: Contact Lenses

The idea of treating glaucoma through contact lenses has been in development for the last 50 years. Researchers from Massachusetts Harvard Medical School Department of Ophthalmology in partnership with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have now come up with a way for this form of treatment to be successful.

This new contact lens is similar to regular lenses. These lenses were created by putting latanoprost-polymer films – glaucoma medication – in an everyday contact lens hydrogel. The center film works to correct vision, while the outer film slowly releases the medication into the eyes.

The beauty of these new contact lenses is that they eliminate the need for eye drops. The contact lenses dispense the medication, so patients simply need to insert their contact lenses to receive the treatment. This presents a viable and effective alternative for treating glaucoma patients with poor adherence to a daily self-medicating regimen.

The new contact lens has been tested, and proven to be effective at releasing the medication over the course of days, weeks and even a full month. The lenses have also been found to be every bit as effective as eye drops at treating glaucoma.

All ingredients used in the creation of these lenses have already been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which should speed their availability to the marketplace.

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