Canadian scientists have created a new eye drop treatment they believe can cure glaucoma while a patient is fast asleep. Using the latest in nanotechnology as well as a unique acid found in marijuana, these new eye drops form thin layers on the eyes that are better able to better penetrate deep into the retinae.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) said they created these advanced eye drops out of special hydrogels and countless nanoparticles. Each of these nanoparticles has a bit of cannabigerolic acid (CBGA) in them, which is a compound in marijuana that's been shown to help reduce intraocular pressure (IOP).
After they formulated these new drops, scientists dropped them into pigs' eyes and observed the results. In a matter of seconds, the UBC team's eye drops penetrated all the way to the back of the donated eyes.
In their official report, study authors said glaucoma patients would simply have to put one drop of their formula into each eye before bed. After the drop hits their eyes, patients will notice a thin film forming thanks to the nanoparticles. When they wake up the next morning, however, patients shouldn't feel any eye discomfort.
Although the compound CBGA has been studied extensively for its healing potential in glaucoma treatment, doctors haven't put it in an eye drop yet because it takes a very long time to dissolve. UBC researchers were able to successfully place CBGA particles in their eye drop because they are suspended it in a nanoparticle-hydrogel combination.
Besides glaucoma, study authors believe these CBGA drops could play a key role in the treatment of other common eye disorders. In particular, researchers mentioned that these drops might be helpful for macular degeneration patients and bacterial infections.
Glaucoma is one of the most common blinding diseases in the world. Most people develop glaucoma after they turn 40, but the disease could strike at any age without noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Eye doctors recommend everyone get an eye exam once per year if possible to keep tabs on glaucoma and other serious eye disorders.
There's no cure for glaucoma today, but there are many ways doctors can manage symptoms. A few common treatment strategies include laser surgery, diet changes, and eye drops like Latanoprost. While most of the conventional eye drops on the market aren't able to penetrate the back of the eye as deeply as UBC's new product, but they have been shown to help control IOP.
Excellent foods all glaucoma patients should include in their diets are carrots, blueberries, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, and cherries. A few things glaucoma patients should avoid or limit include alcohol, refined sugars, and, of course, smoking.
Vikramaditya Yadav of UBC's Chemical and Biological Engineering department was the lead author on this new study. A few other key researchers on this project include Drs. Maryam Kabiri, Sandip V. Pawar, and Protiva R. Roy.
To find out more about this exciting research, pick up the latest edition of Drug Delivery and Translational Research. This article was published under the title, "A stimulus-responsive, in situ-forming, nanoparticle-laden hydrogel for ocular drug delivery."