A novel treatment will eliminate the need for steroid eye drops after cataract surgery.
Cataract surgery is the most common eye surgery performed in SNEC. To control eye inflammation after the procedure, patients are typically prescribed steroid eye drops to be applied every three to four hours each day, for at least a month.
A majority of these patients are above the age of 50, who often find the eye drops difficult to apply, use them wrongly or forget to instil them altogether. This can lead to uncontrolled inflammation, which causes pain,blurred vision or even blindness in severe cases.
In collaboration with Utrecht University in the Netherlands, SNEC and SERI researchers have worked together since 2014 to tackle this problem, resulting in the development of a new treatment that removes the need for eye drops.
HOW IT WORKSIn this treatment, liposomal prednisolone (a steroid wrapped in layers of lipid nanoparticles) is applied onto the eye only once at the end of the cataract surgery. Inflammatory cells, which are activated in response to surgery, get attracted to the lipid layers and engulf the liposomal prednisolone. The steroid is then released inside the cells to reduce inflammation.
This new drug selectively targets inflammatory cells within the eye. The lipids around the drug also keep it from being dispersed before it reaches the cells.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCEThe first round of clinical trials concluded last year. According to Dr Wong Chee Wai, Visiting Consultant at SNEC’s Myopia Centre and the study’s Principal Investigator, the new drug treatment completely eradicated post-operative inflammation with no side effects during the trials.
Prof Tina Wong, Head of SNEC’s Glaucoma Department, Head of SERI’s Ocular Therapeutics & Drug Delivery Research Group, and Co-Principal Investigator for the study, added that the new treatment is also a welcome alternative for doctors, as they would not have to worry about patients’ non-adherence to medication.
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SINGVISION Issue 2/2021.
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