Accelerating Eye Healing: The Power of Contact LensesA team of researchers at the University of Waterloo has developed a groundbreaking new contact lens material that could revolutionize the way corneal wounds are treated. This innovative material acts as a bandage for the eye while also releasing drugs in a controlled manner to help speed up the healing process.

Traditionally, patients with corneal abrasions have to wear a bandage contact lens for seven to 10 days, along with antibiotic eye drops. However, the challenge lies in ensuring that enough medication stays on the eye for effective treatment. Dr. Lyndon Jones, a professor at Waterloo’s School of Optometry & Vision Science, describes the new material as a “targeted-release drug delivery system that is responsive to the body.” The more severe the injury, the more medication is delivered, making it a potential game-changer in eye care.

The research team, led by Dr. Jones, collaborated with experts in chemical engineering to develop a collagen-based material that is ten times stronger than traditional collagen. This material degrades in response to an enzyme found in the eye, allowing for controlled release of drugs based on the level of enzymes present at the wound site.

In a human cell culture study, the researchers successfully achieved complete wound healing within five days using the drug-releasing contact lens material. The material is also designed to activate only at eye temperatures, providing a built-in storage mechanism.

The team is now working on fine-tuning the material and exploring the possibility of entrapping different drugs in it. They believe that this innovative material has the potential to not only benefit the eye but also other parts of the body, such as large skin ulcers.

The findings of this study were published in the journal Pharmaceutics. For more information, you can refer to the original article on the University of Waterloo’s website.

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