Posted on Jun 14, 2017, 6 a.m.
Scientists have developed eye drops that could spell the end of painful injections directly into the eye to treat age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
University of Birmingham scientists have created a new type of eye drop that has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of one the top causes of blindness. The findings of this collaborative research were recently published in Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. These new eye drops just might signal the end of painful injections in the patient's eyeballs to treat the eye disorder referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
AMD impacts millions of people across the globe. Professionals within the medical community suggest this figure will likely increase significantly in the future as the baby boomer age cohort enters the golden years of life. AMD does not cause any sort of pain, but it causes individuals to slowly lose central vision, almost always in both eyes. The sole means of treating AMD is through successive injections in the eyeball each month across three years. These injections can be very unpleasant. Aside from their unpleasant nature, such injections can also create tearing and infections within the eye. Such harm increases the odds of blindness.
About the Research
The University of Birmingham research team was led by Dr. Felicity de Cogan. The work was performed within the university's Institute of Inflammation and Ageing. The scientists created a method of providing the injected drug in the form of an eye drop. Their initial lab research has produced the same results as the injection of the drug. The drop is made of a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP) to transmit the drug to the eye in a manner of minutes.
Dr. de Cogan stated the CPP drug might eventually have a massive impact on AMD treatment as it will drastically alter the means of drug delivery. The self-administering of the new eye drops will undoubtedly lead to a decrease in adverse results. Dr. de Cogan is also confident these new eye drops will reduce the health care costs required to treat AMD. She noted the CPP-plus drug may also be applicable to additional chronic ocular diseases that necessitate drug transmission to the eye's posterior chamber.
Felicity de Cogan, Lisa J. Hill, Aisling Lynch, Peter J. Morgan-Warren, Judith Lechner, Matthew R. Berwick, Anna F. A. Peacock, Mei Chen, Robert A. H. Scott, Heping Xu, Ann Logan. Topical Delivery of Anti-VEGF Drugs to the Ocular Posterior Segment Using Cell-Penetrating Peptides. Investigative Opthalmology & Visual Science, 2017; 58 (5): 2578 DOI: 10.1167/iovs.16-20072