Washington: Tiny drug-containing polymer nanowafers that are applied to the eye like a contact lens can eliminate the need for medicinal eyedrops, according to scientists, including one of Indian-origin.

The nanowafers in the eye would proceed to gradually dissolve, releasing medication throughout the day, researchers said.

Eyedrops may be replaced by stick-on nanowafers
Representational picture

Eyedrops do not always go right into the eye, and the liquid medication is often quickly expelled by blinking, or washed away by tears.

A team of scientists from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, led by Dr Ghanashyam Acharya developed the nanowafer. It's clear and disc-shaped like a contact lens, but is only about one-tenth the size.

The pharmaceutical payload is contained within an array of nanoreservoirs embedded throughout the non-toxic polymer, 'Gizmag' reported.

Users would apply it to the surface of their eye just once a day, then leave it to dissolve on its own - repeated blinking would not displace it.

In a lab test, nanowafers loaded with antibiotics were used to treat burns on the corneas of mice. A second group of mice received the same medication, but in the form of eye drops delivered twice a day.

When the corneas were examined after 10 days of treatment, researchers found that the wafers were approximately twice as effective at healing the wounds.

The research was published in the journal ACS Nano.