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Dr. Les Harrell Optometric Physician

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New Glaucoma Treatment: Contact Lens with Vitamin E

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide.  Glaucoma is an eye disorder that frequently results from an imbalance of fluid production and drainage inside of the eye that causes the inner eye pressure to increase. Doctors commonly prescribe eye drops to relieve internal eye pressure.  A problem with eye drop medication is that tears remove the medication from the eye within a few minutes.  Researchers have developed a new approach, contact lenses containing Vitamin E that help to keep the medication in the eye.
 
Only 1% to 5% of the medication in eye drops actually reaches the part of the eye (cornea) that needs it as part of glaucoma treatment.  Researchers at the University of Gainesville, FL have developed a contact lens that contains Vitamin E that creates an extended-release of the medication and significantly stops the leakage of medication from the eye.  The lenses with Vitamin E allow medication to remain in the eye 100 times longer than commercial contact lenses and can be worn continuously up to a month.  Clinical trials of the Vitamin E Lenses could begin in a one to two years.  Researchers theorize that the Vitamin E Lenses may be helpful for delivering medication for other eye conditions, such as cataracts and dry eye.
 

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