Glaucoma, the build up of pressure in the eye, is a serious disease that can lead to irreversible blindness. Currently, treatment options include daily eye drops and even surgery, but soon, hydrogel technology could significantly improve the ease of treatment for patients.
Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology have come up with a polymer that can be injected non-invasively into the eye. The polymer reacts to form a hydrogel which effectively holds open a channel in the suprachoroidal space of the eye which allows pressure to drain from the eye.
The procedure uses a microneedle to delicately inject the gel and the treatment lasts for months, meaning patients would only need to receive an injection twice a year. Researchers are now modifying the polymer to see if they can extend the lifespan of each injection.
Professor Mark Prausnitz said, “We believe the injection could be done as an office procedure during routine exams that the patients are already getting. Patients may not need to do anything to treat their glaucoma until their next office visit.”
Although the new technique cannot cure glaucoma, it does offer a viable long term solution for living with the disease as well as a relief from daily drop treatment or surgery. We will continue to follow this story as the technology is tested further in clinical trials.