London: Scientists at Britain’s University of Birmingham have developed a type of eye drop which could spell the end of painful injections directly into the eye to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common eye disorder that causes blindness.
A painless condition which causes people to gradually lose their central vision, usually in both eyes, AMD is currently treated by repeated injections into the eye on a monthly basis over at least three years.
This is a problem because, apart from being an unpleasant procedure for patients to undergo, the injections can cause tearing and infections inside the eye and an increased risk of blindness.
The scientists invented a method of delivering the injected drug as an eye drop instead, and their laboratory research obtained the same outcomes as the injected drug, according to a study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science.
The drop uses a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) to deliver the drug to the relevant part of the eye within minutes. “The CPP-drug has the potential to have a significant impact on the treatment of AMD by revolutionising drug-delivery options,” said lead researcher Felicity de Cogan from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Inflammation and Ageing.
“Efficacious self-administered drug application by eye drop would lead to a significant reduction in adverse outcomes and health care costs compared with current treatments,” de Cogan added.