Researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) developed an eye drop delivery system that may allow your glaucoma patients to be treated while asleep.1

Although drops are a mainstay for glaucoma, they are often poorly absorbed in the eye, according to lead researcher Vikramaditya Yadav, PhD, professor of chemical and biological engineering and biomedical engineering at UBC.2 “Even when the drug is absorbed, it may fail to reach the back of the eye, where it can start repairing damaged neurons and relieving the pressure that characterizes glaucoma,” Dr. Yadav says in university-issued release.

Dr. Yadav and his team developed a hydrogel filled with nanoparticles containing cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), a cannabis compound that has shown promise in relieving glaucoma symptoms.2 The study found the drug was absorbed quickly and reached the back of the eye. The drops, applied before bedtime, form a coating over the eye and the nanoparticles dissolve slowly during the night, reaching the cornea. The coating dissolves by morning.2

To date, no cannabis-based eye drops have been developed since cannabinoids don't easily dissolve in water, the researchers claim. However, the UBC team was able to overcome this hurdle by suspending CBGA in a nanoparticle-hydrogel composite.2 Researchers note the composite could possibly be used to treat other ocular conditions such as infections or macular degeneration.

1. Kabiri M, Kamal SH, Pawar SV, et al. A stimulus-responsive, in situ-forming, nanoparticle-laden hydrogel for ocular drug delivery. Drug Deliv Transl Res. March 5, 2018. [E-pub ahead of print].
2. University of British Columbia. New glaucoma treatment could ease symptoms while you sleep. April 11, 2018. Accessed April 17, 2018.