Scientists have developed a contact lens that releases anesthesia to the eye for post-surgery pain relief. The contacts can be particularly effective for patients who undergo PRK (photorefractive keratectomy), in which the healing process can take days, weeks or even months.
Currently, medicated eye drops are used after laser eye surgery, and patients typically use the drops every few hours for several days. Compared to the LASIK procedure, PRK has a longer period of pain following surgery, and PRK patients receive a “bandage” contact lens to help the eye heal.
Lead by Anuj Chauhan, PhD, from the University of Florida, a team of scientists found that anesthesia can continually release from the lens for a full day and up to seven days when vitamin E is added to the lens. Without vitamin E, the lens can release anesthesia for only less than two hours.
The scientists stated that the vitamin E loaded silicone contact lens could act as a bandage contact lens as well as deliver pain medication following laser eye surgery.
The study was reported in the American Chemical Society’s journal Langmuir.