Eye drops are the most commonly used dosage form for treating various ocular diseases such as dry eye, glaucoma, bacterial and fungal infections, and allergic conjunctivitis due to their simplicity and non-invasiveness. The current eye drop solutions are prone to clearance by tear drainage and blinking, effectively removing 98% of medication from the eye within minutes after each application. As a result, medicated eye drops are typically applied at a frequency of 2-4 times daily in order to achieve effective disease management. The multiple dosing and high concentrations not only reduce patient compliance, but more importantly, drastically increase the risks of side effects.
The development of nanomedicine technologies can reduce the frequency of eye drop application to once a week. Our mucoadhesive nanoparticles (MNPs) have been shown to improve drug encapsulation and to prolong drug release, without causing undesirable ocular irritations, which are commonly seen in micro- or macro-scaled ocular drug delivery systems. Our PLA-b-Dex-g-PBA MNPs can continuously release encapsulated drugs for 5 days in vitro, and are tunable for amount of drug encapsulated and rate of release.