Doctors May Soon Be Sticking Needles Into Your EyesBy: Zach Walton - July 25, 2012
I have very few fears in this world, but needles is up there with the big ones. I would rather sit in a room with Steven Spielberg’s most horrific creation, E.T., than spend one second with a needle in my arm. That’s why today’s news of doctors wanting to stick needles into my eye to cure macular degeneration has me kind of tense.
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University have shown the potential for delivering medicine to the eyes through microneedles. The needles are less than a millimeter in length and were shown to be injected into the eye of an animal model as a proof of concept.
If you’re scared, don’t be. The procedure is minimally invasive and will only be used to inject drugs into the front of the eye where they will slide into the back of the eye. Considering that contemporary treatments for many eye problems can’t reach the back without extremely invasive procedures, this has the potential to cure a lot of eye diseases that affect many people.
“This research could lead to a simple and safe procedure that offers doctors a better way to target drugs to specific locations in the eye,” said Samirkumar Patel, the paper’s first author and a postdoctoral researcher at Georgia Tech when the research was conducted. “The design and simplicity of the microneedle device may make it more likely to be used in the clinic as a way to administer drug formulations into the suprachoroidal space that surrounds the eye.”
What’s even more amazing is that drugs injected via microneedles revolve around your eye like a satellite to a planet. The drugs revolve around the eye in a part that doesn’t have any negative side effects on the person while delivering drugs to the affected parts of the eye. Researchers will now develop drugs contained in capsules that will biodegrade in the eye while only letting out small amounts of medicine over time. It prevents having to be repeatedly stabbed in the eye over the course of a few months.
I think we can all agree that this is a good thing, being stabbed in the eye notwithstanding. The eye is one of those body parts that’s really hard to treat due to its fragile nature. This new treatment should save eyesight everywhere. We can at least rest easy knowing that this won’t happen: