Promising research has been recently released from the University of Reading that could lead to more effective eye drops in the near future. Current eye drops are very ineffective at administering the dose – with less than 5% of the medicine actually penetrating the eye. The rest of the medicine is washed away by tear fluid.
Our corneas are a complex part of the eye – they allow us to see while protecting our eyes from microbial and chemical interventions. While this is good most of the time, it does mean treating eye disorders is a difficult task with only the smallest molecules able to penetrate a healthy cornea. There is also no active immune system in the layers of the cornea. This means that prompt drug treatment is recommended.
These experimental eye drops contain nano particles that can attach to the cornea and avoid this wash out effect for an extended period of time. This is especially helpful for eye drops that contain medicated drugs – these nano particles will ensure that more medicine actually reaches the eye.
This could also lead to new treatments for currently incurable eye disorders like Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – a major cause of visual impairment in New Zealand. This and other advances in gene therapy will lead the way in effective treatments of this eye disease in the future. We are very fortunate in Hamilton as our local specialist Dr David Worsely has access to an innovative new treatment for macular degeneration using a very weak powered laser (Macular laser or 2RT). He is the only surgeon in New Zealand with access to this treatment and it comprises one of thirty three new treatments which may be able to help this eye disease. For more information about treatments for macula degeneration speak to your eye care professional.