In a study published in the June 28 issue of the Journal of Physical Chemistry, scinetists have developed a nanoparticle which can be used as a drug delivery device for treating glaucoma, an eye disease that affects millions of people worldwide, and if left untreated, can lead to blindness.
Seal and his team created a specialized cerium oxide nanoparticle and bound it with a compound that has been shown to block the activity of an enzyme (hCAII) believed to play a central role in causing glaucoma.
The disease involves abnormally high pressure of the fluid inside the eye, which, if left untreated, can result in damage to the optic nerve and vision loss. High pressure occurs, in part, because of a buildup of carbon dioxide inside the eye, and the compound blocks the enzyme that produces carbon dioxide.
Aside from its ability to increase the penetration rate of medicines into the eye, the researchers say this method also causes little patient discomfort since the miniscule size of the nanoparticles makes them less abrasive than some of the complex polymers now used in most eye drops.