Smart contact lenses at Auburn could make eye drops a thing of the past

An Auburn University team of chemical and biomedical engineers led by Mark Byrne, the Daniel F. and Josephine Breeden associate professor in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, has developed a new method to deliver eye medication by wearing contact lenses.

Byrne’s lenses are the first to release drug doses over time for as long as the contact should be worn. The lenses deliver a constant flow of medication without altering a patient’s natural vision, or can be used to correct vision while also delivering eye medication, such as anti-inflammatories, antibiotics and anti-allergy drugs.

“Eye drops may soon be a thing of the past,” Byrne said. “Results indicate that our lenses release a constant drug concentration for the entire time the lens is worn. This is about 100 times better than the conventional therapy, which consists of drug delivery via eye drops. With numbers that impressive, this technology is a real game-changer.”

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