Gelling hypotonic polymer solution for extended topical drug delivery to the eye

Yoo Chun Kim, Matthew D. Shin, Sean F. Hackett, Henry T. Hsueh, Raquel Lima e Silva, Abhijit Date, Hyounkoo Han, Byung Jin Kim, Amy Xiao, Youngwook Kim, Laolu Ogunnaike, Nicole M. Anders, Avelina Hemingway, Ping He, Albert S. Jun, Peter J. McDonnell, Charles Eberhart, Ian Pitha, Donald J. Zack, Peter A. CampochiaroJustin Hanes, Laura M. Ensign

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eye-drop formulations should hold as high a concentration of soluble drug in contact with ocular epithelium for as long as possible. However, eye tears and frequent blinking limit drug retention on the ocular surface, and gelling drops typically form clumps that blur vision. Here, we describe a gelling hypotonic solution containing a low concentration of a thermosensitive triblock copolymer for extended ocular drug delivery. On topical application, the hypotonic formulation forms a highly uniform and clear thin layer that conforms to the ocular surface and resists clearance from blinking, increasing the intraocular absorption of hydrophilic and hydrophobic drugs and extending the drug–ocular-epithelium contact time with respect to conventional thermosensitive gelling formulations and commercial eye drops. We also show that the conformal gel layer allows for therapeutically relevant drug delivery to the posterior segment of the eyeball in pigs. Our findings highlight the importance of formulations that conform to the ocular surface before viscosity enhancement for increased and prolonged ocular surface contact and drug absorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1053-1062
Number of pages10
JournalNature biomedical engineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications

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