Scientists have created contact lenses that will release drugs when they detect high pressure in the eye. They can be used to treat glaucoma. It is an eye disease that involves damage to the optic nerve, which can lead to blindness if left untreated.

In the Nature Communications journal, a team of researchers describes how they created a device using upper and lower lenses with a snowflake-shaped pressure sensor and a wireless power transmission device clamped around the edge of the lens. The developers claim that the design allows you to include the necessary components in the device without obstructing the view of the user and without irritating the eyes.

Drug-releasing contact lenses can be used to treat glaucoma

As the pressure inside the eye increases, the gap between the upper and lower lenses decreases. This is determined by the pressure sensor with the help of the console. The sensor then sends a signal to the wireless system, which subsequently initiates the release of antiglaucoma drug from the hydrogel attached to the electrode, and allows it to cross the cornea. This uses the drug brimonidine, which reduces pressure in the eye.

Research shows that contact lenses have so far been tested in the eyes of pigs and rabbits, but human trials have not yet been performed.

Researchers note that lenses are not only soft and minimally invasive, but also battery-free, adding that this approach can be used to help fight other eye diseases.