Researchers at the CEU Cardenal Herrera University (CEU UCH) in Spain have unveiled the design of a new bioadhesive ocular insert that can release a high volume of medicine through the cornea of the eye in a controlled manner.
Intended to be placed inside the eyelid, the new product provides an effective alternative to existing application approaches that are said to result in a limited release of creams or drops.
The new insert has been specifically designed to deliver antibiotic moxifloxacin, which is commonly used to treat bacterial infections of the eyes, including corneal queratitis and bacterial endophthalmitis.
A statement by the researchers read: “When we apply cream or drops in the eyes, eyeball defence mechanisms such as tears are triggered, which dilutes the applied medicine. Sometimes, less than 5% of the medicine administered in this way manages to penetrate the eye in an effective way.
“Therefore, pharmaceutical research aims to develop ocular inserts, very thin cylinders or discs made of bioadhesive polymeric materials, which adapt to the shape of the eye and release the medicine through the cornea in a controlled manner.”
The team developed, tested and compared various kinds of inserts using bioadhesive polymers of different physicochemical characteristics to determine the one with an optimal degree of permeability for carrying moxifloxacin.
They selected an insert that was thin, practically transparent and could easily stick to the ocular mucosa.
The team added: “The ocular release of moxifloxacin with this insert would make for an improved treatment of some ocular illnesses such as bacterial endophthalmitis, an infection of the eyeball, which can appear after suffering a wound or as a complication following intraocular surgery.
“It can also be used for treating corneal queratitis, an infection of the cornea, which causes inflammation and can leave a leucoma or scar as a result.”
Furthermore, the researchers plan to work towards applying the approach to other medicines.