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Ther Adv Ophthalmol. 2020 Mar 13;12:2515841420905740. doi: 10.1177/2515841420905740. eCollection 2020 Jan-Dec.

Promising therapeutic drug delivery systems for glaucoma: a comprehensive review.

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Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Department of Ophthalmology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.
Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College & Hospital, Chandigarh, Chandigarh, India.
Department of Ophthalmology, Government Medical College & Hospital, Chandigarh, Chandigarh, India; Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore.
Department of Ophthalmology Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine Richmond, VA, USA.


The delivery of ophthalmic drugs is challenging despite easy accessibility via the ocular surface. Topical instillation of eye drops is a relatively easy and most commonly used as a conduit for drug delivery for treating a myriad of ocular morbidities, particularly involving the anterior segment, and has an additional benefit of avoiding the first-pass metabolism while passing through the systemic circulation. The primary challenges of drug administration through traditional methods include-inadequate patient education for proper drug instillation technique, compliance, adherence, and persistence. Various dynamic (choroidal and conjunctival blood flow, lymphatic clearance, and tear dilution) and static (namely, different layers of cornea, sclera, and retina including blood aqueous and blood-retinal barriers) ocular barriers limit drug delivery to the target ocular tissues. The maintenance of the therapeutic drug levels on the ocular surface for a prolonged duration is an added challenge, thus preventing persistent delivery for longer durations. These factors result in inadequate management, leading to poor prognosis in vision loss in as many as 27% of the patients diagnosed with glaucoma. We have reviewed the research and advancements in the development of novel and well-tolerated drug delivery systems with the common goal of overcoming the factors limiting adequate drug delivery to the target tissues in glaucomatous patients with traditional techniques. In the recent past, multiple research groups have successfully designed noninvasive, sustained drug delivery systems, promoting the efficacy as well as the feasibility of delivering topical drugs to the anterior segment.


compliance; drug delivery; glaucoma; nanoparticles; neuroprotection; ocular drugs; ocular inserts; therapeutic contact lenses

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Conflict of interest statement: The authors declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

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