Sticking these tiny needles in your eye may help fight blindness

An eye patch covered in tiny needles sounds like a torture device straight out of one of the Saw movies. In fact, it’s the invention of researchers in Singapore, who have been searching for a better way of treating eye diseases, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Currently, these diseases are most commonly treated with eye drops. However, eye drops are not always sufficient to deliver large enough quantities of drugs. Nor are they particularly well-suited for delivering drug doses over an extended period of time. That’s where the somewhat squirm-inducing new treatment comes into play. It involves an eye patch studded with tiny dissolvable needles. The patch is placed onto the patient’s eye and then removed, leaving the microneedles embedded in their cornea. The microneedles consist of two layers: An outer layer which delivers an initial drug dose and an inner layer which delivers a secondary drug dose over the course of several days.

“This work provides a new strategy for efficient drug delivery into the eye,” Chen Peng, a professor in the School of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Nanyang Technological University, told Digital Trends. “With simple pressing of the eye patch on the eye, the detachable tiny needles can penetrate the ocular surface tissue, and serve as implanted micro-drug-reservoirs. The biphasic drug release kinetics enabled by the double-layered micro-reservoirs largely enhances the therapeutic efficacy.”

So far, the needle-studded eye patch has been tested on mice, where it demonstrated significantly more efficiency than regular eye drops. “Using corneal neovascularization as the disease model in mice, delivery of an anti-angiogenic monoclonal antibody by [the] eye patch can reduce 90 percent of neovascular area, which is much better than drug efficacy using eye drops, [which is around 15 percent,” Peng continued.

The researchers are currently optimizing the eye patch, focused predominantly on the microneedles’ composition and stiffness. This will enable better practical use. They are also in the process of searching for clinical collaborators for a medical trial, with the ultimate goal of commercializing the technology.

A paper describing the work, “Self-implantable double-layered micro-drug-reservoirs for efficient and controlled ocular drug delivery,” was recently published in the journal Nature Communications.

Home Theater

Anker’s micro projectors get an equally small price in time for the holidays

Looking for a great deal on a tiny video projector? Anker has some tiny prices on three of their smallest devices. With features like Android 7.1 and designs as small as a can of soda, these projectors make the perfect travel companions.
Deals

LG’s most affordable OLED TVs now come with $170 to $260 in gift cards

Trusted electronics retailer ABT is offering LG's most affordable OLED TV, the B8 series with $170 and $260 gift cards for the 55- and 65-inch models, respectively. While the OLED TVs don't often go on sale gift cards like this are…
Deals

Check out the best Xbox One deals and bundles for December 2018

Microsoft's consoles are just as capable of streaming movies as they are of playing the latest games. Check out our top Xbox One deals and bundles, which include new and upcoming triple-A games like Battlefield V and Fallout 76.
Computing

New rumors say the Pixelbook 2 could show up at CES 2019

What will the Pixelbook 2 be like? Google hasn't announced it, but thanks to rumors and leaks, we think we have a pretty good idea of what the potential new flagship Chromebook will be like.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Emerging Tech

This unusual nature-inspired robot is equally at home on land or in the water

This intriguing, nature-inspired robot may look unusual, but it's impressively capable of moving on both land and water without problem. Heck, it can even travel on ice if necessary.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.
Emerging Tech

There’s a giant EMP blaster in New Mexico. Don’t worry, it’s here to protect us

An electromagnetic pulse has the potential to disable virtually all electronics within a large area. To help protect against such a threat is a new, friendly EMP emitter. Here's how it works.