EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE: Wednesday, March 24 11:20 a.m., Eastern Time
The popular dietary supplement vitamin E, loaded into special medicated contact lenses, can keep glaucoma medicine near the eye — where it can treat that common disease— almost 100 times longer than possible with current commercial lenses, scientists reported here today. In a presentation at the 239th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS), they described use of vitamin E to develop contact lenses that may deliver more medication for glaucoma and perhaps other diseases to the eye.
Anuj Chauhan, Ph.D., who headed the research team, explained that glaucoma is second only to cataracts as the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the world. It affects almost 67 million people. Eye drops that relieve the abnormal build-up of pressure inside the eye that occurs in glaucoma, are a mainstay treatment.
Chauhan and colleagues have developed a new extended-release delivery approach incorporating vitamin E into contact lenses. The invisible clusters, or aggregates, of vitamin E molecules form what Chauhan describes as “transport barriers.” that slow down the elusion of the glaucoma medication from the lens into the eye. The drug released from the lens into the eye stays in the tears far longer than the 2-5 minutes with eye drops, leading to more effective therapy.In research with laboratory animals, the lenses containing vitamin E nanobricks administered drugs up to 100 times longer than most commercial lenses. The lenses could be designed for continuous wear for up to a month, Chauhan said.