Dynamic Dosing with Contact Lenses

Business Jun 30, 2010

Medicated eye drops. We all know the drill. Tilt your head back, hold your eyelid. Most of it runs down your cheek, and the little amount that stays in your eye is absorbed quickly — usually too quickly. And that’s a problem. Unlike some medications, there’s no “time release” for eye drops. Bad news for allergy sufferers, and worse news for those who wear contacts or who are recovering from eye surgery. There should be a better way.

Chemical engineer Mark Byrne has found one. Instead of using eye drops as a delivery method, Byrne has developed a way to use contact lenses instead. Soft contact lenses are made out of a substance called hydrogel — a water-absorbing molecule network. By changing the way the molecule chains are built, Byrne and his team can load drugs onto soft contact lenses, and tailor the timed release of these drugs to a prescribed therapy.

Auburn was the first to demonstrate the extended release of antihistamines via contact lenses, and since that pioneering work, has branched out into contacts for antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and pain medications.

Thanks to Byrne and his team, medication can now be reliably delivered to your eye (instead of your cheek) at the doses and times each patient needs.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Mark E. Byrne

Research Interests: Drug delivery; bio (mimetic, inspired, and hybrid) materials; therapeutic and diagnostic biomedical devices; recognitive networks for sensing and drug delivery; functional intelligent polymeric films and networks; bionanotechnology.

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