Steroid-eluting contact lenses for corneal and intraocular inflammation


Bengani LC, Kobashi H, Ross AE, Zhai H, Salvador-Culla B, Tulsan R, Kolovou PE, Mittal SK, Chauhan SK, Kohane DS, Ciolino JB. Steroid-eluting contact lenses for corneal and intraocular inflammation. Acta Biomater 2020;116:149-161.

Date Published:

2020 10 15


Ocular inflammation is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide, and steroids in topical ophthalmic solutions (e.g. dexamethasone eye drops) are the mainstay of therapy for ocular inflammation. For many non-infectious ocular inflammatory diseases, such as uveitis, eye drops are administered as often as once every hour. The high frequency of administration coupled with the side effects of eye drops leads to poor adherence for patients. Drug-eluting contact lenses have long been sought as a potentially superior alternative for sustained ocular drug delivery; but loading sufficient drug into contact lenses and control the release of the drug is still a challenge. A dexamethasone releasing contact lens (Dex-Lens) was previously developed by encapsulating a dexamethasone-polymer film within the periphery of a hydrogel-based contact lens. Here, we demonstrate safety and efficacy of the Dex-Lens in rabbit models in the treatment of anterior ocular inflammation. The Dex-Lens delivered drug for 7 days in vivo (rabbit model). In an ocular irritation study (Draize test) with Dex-Lens extracts, no adverse events were observed in normal rabbit eyes. Dex-Lenses effectively inhibited suture-induced corneal neovascularization and inflammation for 7 days and lipopolysaccharide-induced anterior uveitis for 5 days. The efficacy of Dex-Lenses was similar to that of hourly-administered dexamethasone eye drops. In the corneal neovascularization study, substantial corneal edema was observed in rabbit eyes that received no treatment and those that wore a vehicle lens as compared to rabbit eyes that wore the Dex-Lens. Throughout these studies, Dex-Lenses were well tolerated and did not exhibit signs of toxicity. Dexamethasone-eluting contact lenses may be an option for the treatment of ocular inflammation and a platform for ocular drug delivery. STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE: Inflammation of the eye can happen either on the ocular surface (i.e. the cornea) or inside the eye, both of which can result in loss of vision or even blindness. Ocular inflammation is normally treated by steroid eye drops. Depending on the type and severity of inflammation, patients may have to take drops every hour for days at a time. Such severe dosing regimen can lead to patients missing doses. Also, more than 95% drug in an eye drop never goes inside the eye. Here we present a contact lens that release a steroid (dexamethasone) for seven days at a time. It is much more efficient than eye drops and a significant improvement since once worn, the patient will avoid missing doses.

Last updated on 11/01/2020