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Removing the “patient factor” from glaucoma treatment

7/20/17     Over 3 million Americans suffer with glaucoma and 75% of them administer their own drug treatment incorrectly. These “patient factors” include not being able to see clearly enough to pick up the right medication to use, the inability to successfully put droplets into the eye, and simple forgetfulness.
Sustained delivery devices that take glaucoma therapy out of patients’ hands may be the answer to the many issues related to adherence, with significant benefits for patients and physicians. These technologies are broken into 3 general categories: injectable sustained-release formulations, drug-eluting rings and contact lenses, and punctal plug reservoirs.

glaucoma ring
Drug-eluting rings are currently in clinical trial right now. They are made of a silicone polymer and can house most any drug combination. The ring is put under the eye lid and slowly excretes drug delivery for up to 6 months. This alleviates the patient having to remember to take their medicine. An issue researchers are trying to overcome with rings is they can fall out without the patient being aware of it happening, making it virtually unknown how much of the drug the patient actually received. Once this hurdle is overcome the next obstacle is to figure out the timing of introducing this treatment to a patient. Timing can be a critical factor in the successful treatment of glaucoma. Once the clinical trials are completed and the logistics figured out, drug-eluting rings will most likely play a significant role in glaucoma treatment.