Glaucoma is currently the second leading cause of blindness globally, affecting 60 million people worldwide and 3 million Americans. But glaucoma can be managed and vision preserved if detected early. With early detection and vigilant treatment, your eye doctor – optometrist or ophthalmologist – can preserve vision 95% of the time or more.
Glaucoma must be treated over the course of one’s life, and high IOP (intraocular eye pressure) must be managed daily through the use of various treatment options: medication, lasers, or surgery. We can usually control IOP nicely with drops alone. These drops help prevent glaucoma progression, but only if taken consistently, as prescribed by your ophthalmologist. However, research shows that approximately 40% of patients do not take their medication as prescribed, whether because they forget, experience discomfort, or simply fail to properly administer the drops. This was an experience that USC Viterbi School of Engineering PhD student Niki Bayat was all too familiar with. After Bayat’s father was diagnosed with glaucoma, she sat by and watched her father’s vision slowly deteriorate as he often failed to properly administer his eye drops three times daily, as prescribed. However, out of this hardship came hope.
Bayat co-founded AesculaTech, a biomedical device company that has developed an application for timed release of glaucoma medication over a 90-day period, AesculaGel, reducing medical complications due to noncompliance or incorrect application.
“If people cannot get the medication they need for glaucoma, they will start going blind,” said Bayat. “So it’s very important to have this sustained delivery system.”
How Does AesculaGel Work?
AesculaGel is a sustained drug delivery gel that is inserted directly into a tear duct by a doctor just four times a year.
Your ophthalmologist would inject AesculaGel into the tear duct. This thermally responsive hydrogel then hardens, delivering glaucoma medication at regular daily intervals for a 90-day period. Then, after three months, you would simply visit your ophthalmologist for another injection. This method ensures more precise dosing and helps to stop vision loss.
AesculaTech must still successfully conduct lengthy FDA approval before it can come to market with its new delivery system.
Glaucoma Treatment in Annapolis
Staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals, the Anne Arundel Eye Center (AAEC) is a regional leader in the diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma and cataracts. A consultation with board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Samuel Boles will help guide you through the treatment process and help you determine the best course of action.
AAEC is dedicated to making the best eye care accessible to everyone.
If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Samuel Boles, Dr. Nicole Kershner Regis, Dr. Kathryn Turner, and the eye care specialists here at AAEC by calling 410-224-2010. AAEC is staffed by caring and knowledgeable professionals who will help guide you on your healing journey.