Wouldn’t it be Great if Eyedrops Didn’t Spill Out of Your Eyes?
The American Academy of Ophthalmology recently reported on a new technology that could be the answer to so many of our patients’ complaints about eyedrops.
Microdosing devices, a new kind of eyedropper that delivers only a tiny amount of medication to the eye, can cut down on the waste and increased side effects that occur when we instill too much of an eye medication.
Traditional eyedrop bottles typically deliver about five times more medication than can fit in the eye, causing much of the medication to spill out of the eye. This leads to waste of sometimes costly eye medications, which is especially burdensome for patients, such as those with glaucoma, who must take eyedrops every day.
Though the majority of eyedrops have very little side effects, a few types of medications do affect the lids and lash area. These medications may cause the skin around the lids to darken over time, or even cause the eyelashes to grow. Even for other types of medications, patients with sensitive skin and eyes can experience side effects from the drop’s preservatives. The researchers behind this technology, a group from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai, say that microdosing reduces a patient’s dose by about 75%, which yields “reduced side effects, leading to a gentler treatment” (AAO, 2017).
But will a decreased dose be less effective? Preliminary trials have shown that medication delivered with the technology is just as effective as medication delivered from a standard eyedropper. Since only a certain amount of medication can fit in the eye, standard eyedroppers just lead to excess drops running out of the eye. In fact, the excess medication often causes irritation, blinking and even tearing, which may dilute the medication and decrease its effectiveness. So far, microdosing trials showed not only that medications delivered with the new devices were just as effective as those delivered in the traditional way, but also that the rate of side effects was decreased.
Dr. Ianchulev, one of the leaders behind the research at Mount Sinai Hospital, states that additional clinical trials of microdosing technology will begin within the next year, and that the devices may reach the market by 2020.
Tarantino Cho Eye Center
Glen Burnie, MD
American Academy of Ophthalmology. (2017, November 14). Wouldn’t it be Great if Eyedrops Didn’t Spill Out of Your Eyes? Retrieved from American Academy of Ophthalmology: https://www.aao.org/newsroom/news-releases/detail/wouldn-t-it-be-great-if-eyedrops-didn-t-spill-out-