Scientists at the University of Birmingham are one step closer to a breakthrough treatment for age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Affecting 200 million people worldwide, AMD is the leading cause of blindness in the developed world, with the condition.
The current treatment regimen involves an ophthalmologist injecting vision-saving medication into the eye. Now, thanks to the foundational work of biochemist Dr. Felicity de Cogan, from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Microbiology and Infection, eye drops may soon be available as a new delivery system for AMD.

Dr. de Cogan said: “For several years, our team has focused on the challenge of delivering drugs to the back of the eye.
“From the outset, we realized that delivering drugs through eye drops would mean that patients can administer their treatment themselves, and this would be less costly, save time for patients and healthcare providers, and reduce the potential complications that can arise from injections.
Laboratory research, published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual, showed the eye drops perform similarly to the injected drug in rats.

The latest study, also published in IOVS, demonstrates that eye drops can deliver a therapeutically effective dose to the retina of the larger mammalian eye.

The eyedrops work through a cell-penetrating peptide that delivers the drug to the retina. Patents are held by Macregen Inc, so keep a lookout for a new range of therapies for AMD and other eye diseases.
Clinical trials may start as early as spring 2019.