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New implant delivers medicine continuously to eye

The current therapy for treating wet macular degeneration involves costly, frequent injections into the eye.

Researchers are currently working on a new therapy that involves putting an implant into the eye that would continuously deliver the medication into the eye.

Injection therapy only offers temporary help in preserving central vision with wet macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema, because the drugs are not long-lasting. Implant therapy will help to keep the medication levels more steady. A tiny device containing the drug is implanted into the eye through a small incision and slowly releases the medication.

The findings from a recent clinical trial were published online in Ophthalmology and detailed the results that involved 220 participants with the wet form of macular degeneration. Each participant had an implant in one eye and were then monitored for up to 38 months after implantation.

Participants who had 100 mg per mm of medication, on average, did not have to have a refill in the reservoir until 15 months after implantation. And almost 80% of participants were able to go beyond six months before needing a refill. In addition, there was a notable average improvement in vision of these participants with an average increase of 5 more letters. The therapy was found to no more risky than getting individual injections. The costs are not yet known, but researchers believe that over time, it would be less costly than monthly injections which can run approximately $2,000 per injection. Larger clinical trials will be conducted.

This is exciting news for people who now require eye injections as frequently as once per month.


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