Eye ring delivers glaucoma drug for 6 months at a time

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Researchers in San Francisco have developed a small ring that rests on the surface of the eye like a contact lens and delivers a glaucoma drug.

The device is a thin silicone ring that can be placed without surgery and delivers the drug bimatoprost over a course of 6 months. The scientists, hailing from the UC Davis Medical Center Glaucoma Service, published the results of their study in the journal Ophthalmology.

In a Phase II test in patients with glaucoma or ocular tension, eye pressure dropped about 20% over 6 months. And despite becoming dislodged in several patients, the device was well-tolerated with a retention rate of 89%.

"In making effective treatments easier for patients, the hope is that we can reduce vision loss from glaucoma, and possibly other diseases," lead author James Brandt said in a statement. "What is exciting is that this is just one of several sustained-release drug delivery methods designed to help patients who have trouble taking daily eye drops."

- here's the release

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