Time-Release Ring Superior to Eye Drops in Glaucoma Patients

Medicated ring shows better adherence rate and decreased eye pressure in patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension.

A recent study found a device that slowly releases eye medication reduced eye pressure in patients with glaucoma.

This device, a medicated silicone ring that rests on the surface of the eye, could be an alternative to daily eye drops in patients with glaucoma, according to a study published in Ophthalmology.

Previous studies have found that nonadherence to once or twice daily drops is as issue often seen due to forgetfulness or physical limitations.

For the new device, ophthalmologists fit the patients with the thin silicone ring and replace the device every 6 months.

In the current study, 64 patients with glaucoma or ocular hypertension received the topical ocular insert that contains bimatoprost and they were also given artificial tears.

The control group included 66 patients who wore the insert without the drug. These patients also had to use .5% timolol drops twice daily.

Researchers found the bimatoprost group had decreased eye pressure of 3.2 to 6.4 mmHg compared with the timolol group, which had eye pressure of 4.2 to 6.4 mmHg after 6 months.

Patients who wore the bimatoprost ring showed a 20% overall decrease in eye pressure from the initial measurements, according to the study.

Researchers observed that the device was well-tolerated, with an adherence rate of 89% in both groups. The ring was able to be replaced if it became dislodged, which occurred in 15 patients.

Some patients experienced itchiness and redness, which researchers said is common among glaucoma medication users.

"In making effective treatments easier for patients, the hope is that we can reduce vision loss from glaucoma, and possibly other diseases," concluded researcher James D. Brandt, MD. "What is exciting is that this is just one of several sustained-release drug delivery methods designed to help patients who have trouble taking daily eye drops."