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Hydrogel Could Open New Path for Glaucoma Treatment Without Drugs or Surgery

December 7, 2020
Close-up of a needle

A microneedle less than a millimeter in length is used to inject a natural and biodegradable polymer material into a structure in the eye. The material forms a hydrogel that holds open a pathway to release pressure from the eye. Image credit: Gary Meek, Georgia Tech

Researchers at Georgia Tech have developed a potential new treatment for the eye disease glaucoma that could replace daily eyedrops and surgery with a twice-a-year injection to control the buildup of pressure in the eye. The researchers envision the injection being done as an office procedure that could be part of regular patient visits.

The possible treatment, which could become the first non-drug, non-surgical, long-acting therapy for glaucoma, uses the injection of a natural and biodegradable material to create a viscous hydrogel — a water-absorbing crosslinked polymer structure — that opens an alternate pathway for excess fluid to leave the eye.