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New research to reduce the risk of eye injections

With age, the risk of eye diseases increases, and consequently, so does the need for injections into the eye. Professor of Pharmacy, René Holm, aims to help reduce this risk and has now received support to develop eye drops that will remain on the eye for a longer duration.

By Birgitte Svennevig, , 8/30/2023

Eye diseases can affect anyone. Older people are particularly at risk, but people with conditions like diabetes can also develop eye diseases as complications. To treat eye diseases, some people require injections of medication into the eye at intervals of weeks or months.

- We have a growing population of older people, which will likely lead to more eye disease patients requiring eye injections. If we can do something to help them, we should. Aging shouldn't be associated with discomfort and pain, says Professor of Pharmacy, René Holm, Department of Physics, Chemistry, and Pharmacy.

With support from the pharmaceutical company Janssen, he has set out to try and make eye drops more effective to reduce the need for injections.

Aging shouldn't be associated with discomfort and pain

René Holm , Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy

Most people have experienced treatment with eye drops: An ointment or thick fluid is dripped into the eye, and then the eye's task is to absorb the active ingredients.

- Typically, such an eye drop will remain on the eye for 15-20 seconds. That is not a very long time. If we can extend this to maybe two minutes, we can increase the fraction of active ingredients that reaches the eye, where they can exert their active effect, explains René Holm.

The challenge is to find the right balance between the thickness (viscosity) of an eye drop and its ability to release the active ingredients to the eye. The more viscous an eye drop is, the harder it will be for the active ingredients to come out of it and be absorbed by the eye.

Free access to the research

The goal for the research project is to find some methods and techniques that all pharmaceutical companies can continue to work with.

- They will be published as public domain – meaning they will be accessible to all pharmaceutical companies wishing to use them to develop products, says René Holm, adding:

Developing a new drug costs an average of 1.6 billion dollars. By providing free access to our optimized methods, pharmaceutical companies get a tool that can help them eliminate uncertainties for their project, and hopefully, it will increase their interest in continuing to work on delivering medications in eye drops, where there is a genuine need.

About the project

René Holm has received approximately 3 million DKK from Janssen Pharmaceutica for "investigation of optimizing drug absorption in the eye through dosage in various medicinal forms applied topically, as well as investigating how these formulations are preserved with minimal use of preservatives."

Meet the researcher

René Holm is a professor at the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Pharmacy. His research is supported by, among others, Janssen Pharmaceutica and Novo Nordisk.


Editing was completed: 30.08.2023