Drugs designed to treat eye conditions are often delivered via eye drops. Almost all of the actual drug ends up dripping off the eye and not being properly absorbed. Drug releasing contact lenses are the next big thing to treat conditions such as glaucoma, and they may end up being pretty smart in addition to being good drug delivery methods.
Scientists at the Southeast University and China Pharmaceutical University, both in Nanjing, China, have developed a contact lens that can release a drug into the eye and also report on the status of that release. The contact lens changes color as the drug is released, but only in the area of the iris and not the pupil.
The drug within the contact lens is held within tiny cavities created using molecular imprinting within the device’s polymer structure. The cavities let go of the drug molecules embedded within them when exposed to the tears of the eye. Because the molecular structure of the cavities was designed so that once the drug is released they change color, the overall look of the contact lens changes, but only where the drug is actually released into the eye.
This is interesting technology, and will hopefully spur a broad introduction of drug releasing contact lenses to treat glaucoma and other eye diseases.
Study in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces: Self-Reporting Colorimetric Analysis of Drug Release by Molecular Imprinted Structural Color Contact Lens…