Researchers at University of Florida in Gainesville have developed a vitamin E secreting contact lens that can bring the valuable antioxidant directly to eyes. Vitamin E is packaged into clusters within the lens and the aggregate works to slowly release the chemical while remaining invisible to the eye.
“These vitamin structures are like ‘nano-bricks’,” Chauhan [Anuj Chauhan, Ph.D., lead researcher of the study] said. “The drug molecules can’t go through the vitamin E. They must go around it. Because the nanobricks are so much bigger than the drug molecules – we believe about a few hundred times bigger – the molecules get diverted and must travel a longer path. This increases the duration of the drug release from the lenses.”
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. In addition to treating glaucoma, the contacts could help other eye conditions, such as cataract and dry eye.
We bet that given the current regulatory climate, it will take many many years to complete clinical trials to bring this device to market.
American Chemical Society press release: Contact lenses loaded with vitamin E may treat glaucoma