Eye diseases affect a significant portion of the population, with effects ranging from mild discomfort to partial or complete loss of vision. Fortunately, medications can help manage the symptoms of these diseases, but treatment often requires taking eye drops multiple times a day which tends to be difficult for patients. Not only is this type of treatment inconvenient, but the high dosages required can cause serious side effects.
The eye is excellent at clearing away foreign materials. However, if we prevent this fast clearing, we can reduce both the number of dosages and the amount of drugs required per dose. In our lab, we aim to develop nanomedicine by packaging drugs inside nanoparticle carriers that stick to the eye and slowly release the drugs. The drugs are loaded inside the centre of the nanoparticles with ligands(molecules) on the surface of the nanoparticles that specifically bind to the mucous membranes. Once attached to the eye’s mucous membrane (mucoadhesion), the nanoparticles slowly release the drugs over the span of a week and will not be cleared away by tears, resulting in fewer required dosages and less drugs per dose.