In an effort to reduce the pain felt after eye surgery, scientists at multiple institutions are working to create contact lenses capable of supplying anesthetic medication at a consistent rate. As CNET reports, a team of researchers at University of Florida have made a notable advancement in the area and have identified a way to extend the time of release of anesthetics delivered by the lenses. Elizabeth Armstrong Moore writes:
The trick, chemist Anuj Chauhan and colleagues report in the journal Langmuir, is vitamin E.
By adding "highly hydrophobic" vitamin E aggregates to silicone hydrogel lenses for distribution of three commonly used anesthetics post-surgery, they found that the aggregates acted as barriers; by not interacting so readily with water on the surface of the eye, this barrier was able to extend the release time of the anesthetics from just a few hours to multiple days.
This isn't the first time contact lenses have been used to distribute drugs, or even that vitamin E has been used to slow the release of drugs in lenses. But it is an early sign of success for the specific anesthetics used following laser eye surgery.
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