Researchers at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have developed a device, similar to a contact lens, which can administer drugs to the eye through tiny needles.

It is being proposed as a novel method of treating eye diseases such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy by pushing tiny micro-needles filled with drugs into a patient’s eye.

The biodegradable micro-needles, which are thinner than a strand of hair, break off by themselves and remain in the cornea, releasing the drugs before dissolving.

According to the NTU team, the process is painless and could be a more effective way of delivering eye drugs than current exist. It has, so far, only been tested on mice but the researchers hope the results can be verified by human trials.

Professor Chen Peng, a biotech expert at NTU and lead of the study, said: ‘If we successfully replicate the same results in human trials, the patch could become a good option for eye diseases that require long-term management at home, such as glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy.’