Since the seminal work of Wichterle in 1965 describing the first soft contact lenses and their potential for ocular drug delivery, the field has yet to realize his vision. Maintaining all lens commercial properties combined with a mechanism for controlled drug release of therapeutically relevant concentrations for duration of wear is a major challenge. Here, successful in vivo week-long sustained release of a small molecular weight therapeutic in rabbits from extended-wear silicone hydrogel contact lenses meeting all commercial specifications by utilizing a novel macromolecular memory strategy is reported for the first time. Lens-treated eyes show a continuous, therapeutically relevant bromfenac tear concentration of 256.4 ± 23.1 µg mL−1 for 8 days. Bromday (bromfenac ophthalmic solution, 0.09%, Bausch+Lomb) topical drops exhibit a quick peak concentration of 269.3 ± 85.7 µg mL−1 and 100 min duration. Bioavailability (AUC0-8days) and mean residence time of lenses are 26 and 155 times higher than drops, respectively. Lenses are safe, well tolerated, and no corneal histological differences are observed. This work highlights the enormous potential of drug releasing lenses as a platform strategy, and offers a new dropless clinical strategy for post-cataract, uveitis, post-LASIK, and corneal abrasion treatment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering
- Pharmaceutical Science