Treating Glaucoma with Porous Contact Lens

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Glaucoma is a family of diseases that afflicts 65 million people worldwide. Primary open angle glaucoma is the most common type of glaucoma. This is characterized by increased intraocular pressure (IOP) within the eye that results in vision loss. Current therapeutic drugs include Timolol and Brimonidine which studies have shown to yield a greater decrease in IOP through combined drug therapy than monotherapy. In 2007 Combigan, an eye drop that combines the therapeutic effects of Timolol and Brimonidine, was approved for use by the FDA. This project proposes a method for treating glaucoma through delivery of Combigan via a contact lens through which the drugs will diffuse into the eye over a period of time. We modeled the diffusion of two drugs, Timolol and Brimonidine, through four layers of the human eye. The drug was delivered via a contact lens, so that the concentration of drug in the aqueous humor would remain above the minimum effective dosage for longer than if it were delivered via eye drops. We calculated the concentration of each drug in all layers of the eye for 12 hours. Our model was verified by experimental data in the published literature. Our model failed to deliver solely Timolol or Brimonidine for 12 hours, which was our goal, but still was significantly more effective than eye drops. However, throughout the twelve hours there was at least one drug in the aqueous humor and since both drugs lower IOP through different mechanisms our model did deliver treat the glaucoma for the whole twelve hours. If it were possible to lower the diffusivity of Timolol through the stroma, this would allow for Timolol to remain longer in the aqueous humor thus making the contacts better at treating glaucoma. A sensitivity analysis demonstrated that our model was robust in the tear film and relatively robust in the contact lens. However, the model was particularly sensitive to diffusivity in the stroma layer, as the stroma acts as the final barrier to aqueous humoral penetration and is quite thick. Brimonidine was delivered at a more constant rate, but at a lower concentration than Timolol. It also took six times longer than Timolol to reach its maximum concentration in the aqueous humor. Drug delivery via contact lenses is a feasible technology as more effective than eye drops, but can be improved by designing a time-release drug that diffuses more slowly. Further research needs to be conducted in order to investigate the practicality of this method.
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BEE 453
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Glaucoma; drug delivery; contact lens
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