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Dissolving contact lenses may be new way to treat glaucoma

A group of business and engineering student researchers from Lithuania have developed dissolving contact lenses as a more efficient drug-delivery method for glaucoma patients.

Current treatment processes involve using highly concentrated eye drops at a frequency of 2–3 times a day with an absorption rate of only 5%.

As such, the team from Kaunas University of Technology (KTU), comprised of chemical and mechanical engineering students, set out to create a new way for treating one of the leading causes of worldwide blindness – the NanoLens.

The team’s superviser, Associate Professor Rita Juceviciené said they found using dissolving lenses as a drug-delivery method could optimise absorption by 30%. Aside from wasting less drops, it also means the medicine can be applied at lower concentrations, preventing eye irritation.

According to team member Ms Viktorija Pacharevaité, the students initially set out to create a more comfortable contact lens. However, when they discovered the amount of research already going into the area they instead decided to focus their attention on a wider problem.

“We looked at the broader problem and decided to offer dissolving lenses for treatment of glaucoma,” she said.

The project was recently awarded second place in the Silicon Valley Innovation Challenge for Best Global Innovation Category. However, while it has received many favourable reviews, the team said it still requires further funding and development to make the treatment a reality.


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