Manage glaucoma with an injectable, natural polymer-based hydrogel

December 8, 2020

In glaucoma patients, the main opening through which fluid, or aqueous humour, within the eye drains is sometimes blocked. It leads to pressure buildup, which in turn will press on the optic nerve and eventually blind the patient. Scientists at the Georgia Technical Institute, US, have developed an experimental technique to relieve this pressure – an injection of a non-toxic hydrogel was used to keep a narrow structure known as the suprachoroidal space (SCS) wide open, thereby draining the eye of excess fluid.

“The holy grail for glaucoma is an efficient way to lower the pressure that doesn’t rely on the patient putting drops in their eyes every day, doesn’t require a complicated surgery, has minimal side effects, and has a good safety profile,” said Professor Ross Etheir of Georgia Tech.

Unlike treatments available in the present day, the hydrogel injection allows for a quick and painless process, using only a very small hypodermic needle. The“mesh” that holds the SCS open forms from a tiny droplet of a natural polymer known as hyaluronic acid.

In rabbit tests conducted so far, the pressure-reducing effect has lasted for four months before another injection was required. The effect is hoped to last longer once the technology is developed further, possibly only requiring twice-yearly injections to do the trick.

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Category: Features, Technology & Devices

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