Glaucoma is a group of diseases of the optic nerve involving loss and cell damage nerve ganglia, the main causes of neuropathy. Elevated intraocular pressure (pressure above 22 mm Hg) is an important risk factor for developing glaucoma.
Some people develop nerve damage at a very low pressure of the eye, while others have increased eye pressure for years, while there is no damage. The absence of treatment of glaucoma can lead to permanent damage to the optic nerve resulting in loss of vision and eventually blindness. It is critical that glaucoma is diagnosed early and treated to protect the integrity of the nerve and prevent serious vision loss at a later date.
Scientist predict that by 2020, around 20 million people are expected to have glaucoma. Glaucoma is a serious eye disorder that can damage the optic nerve and if left untreated, can and probably will cause complete blindness. The Glaucoma Research Foundation estimates 2.2 million Americans currently.
The National Eye Institute (NEI) reviews the various types of glaucoma: open angle (most common), low tension, angle-closure, and congential. Secondary types of glaucoma include pigmentary and pseudoexfoliation.
Treatment For Glaucoma
Common treatment for glaucoma are eye drops that drain the eye of fluid and decrease its production. The problem with the prescribed eye drops is that patients can’t always follow the schedule and also, these drops can cause unwanted side effects to the eyes and other parts of the body. Dry eyes, a sensitivity to light and headaches are also commonly reported side effects of eye drops.
Nanodiamond Contact Lens Offer Solution
However, there may be a solution to this problem. Scientists from UCLA School of Dentistry have created a new system for delivering these medications. They fused glaucoma-fighting drugs with nanodiamonds and fused them with contact lenses. That enables the automatic response of nanodiamonds to release the drug into the eye when in touch with the patient’s tears.
What is a nanodiamond? Nanodiamond are exactly what the name implies, microscopic diamonds.
One of the benefits of this treatment is that nanodiamods improved the durability of the contact lenses. For the release mechanism the researchers fused nanodiamonds with timolol maleate (a non-selective beta-adrenergic receptor antagonist indicated for treating glaucoma). Timolol maleate is applied to the nanodiamond-embedded lenses and it reacts with lysozyme, an enzyme found in tears.
These contact lenses avoided the common side effects of timolol maleate drops such as “burst release” that can cause spills and leaks of the drug that can also lead to more serious problems which leads patients to stop using these medications. New studies have shown that nanodiamonds may be the future of medicine with use in treatment of glaucoma, cancer and other diseases.
Also being tested is a ability of a contact lenses which could conceivably deliver glaucoma drugs to the eye for one month. This type of lenses has been tested in culture and animal studies. It is also hoped that this type of lenses would be beneficial in delivering drugs via the lenses for other diseases.