The eye drops, developed by researchers from the University of Waterloo in Canada, progressively deliver the right amount of drug-infused nanoparticles to the surface of the eyeball over a period of five days before the body absorbs them.
The nanoparticles, about 1/1000th the width of a human hair, stick harmlessly to the eye's surface and use only five percent of the drug normally required.
"You can't tell the difference between these nanoparticle eye drops and water. There's no irritation to the eye," said Shengyan Liu, a PhD candidate at Waterloo's Faculty of Engineering, who led the team of researchers from the Department of Chemical Engineering and the Centre for Contact Lens Research.
Dry eye syndrome is a more common ailment for people over the age of 50 and may eventually lead to eye damage. Currently, patients must frequently apply the medicine three times a day because of the eye's ability to self-cleanse a process that washes away 95 percent of the drug.
"I knew that if we focused on infusing biocompatible nanoparticles with Cyclosporine A, the drug in the eye drops, and make them stick to the eyeball without irritation for longer periods of time, it would also save patients time and reduce the possibility of toxic exposure due to excessive use of eye drops," said Liu.
The research team is now focusing on preparing the nanoparticle eye drops for clinical trials with the hope that this nanoparticle therapy could reach the shelves of
drugstores within five years.

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