The severe and caustic nature of alkali chemical burns affecting the eye often leads to permanent ocular injury and resulting vision loss. Treatment options are limited, particularly as the topical eye drops often used to treat such injuries dissipate almost completely after administration and thus must be applied frequently, increasing the burden of care for patients. To this end, EyeGate Pharmaceuticals has developed a proprietary crosslinked thiolated carboxymethyl hyaluronic acid (CMHA-S) molecule that can be manufactured as a thin, flexible film to then be inserted directly to the ocular surface. The film can provide the sustained release of therapeutic drugs, thereby eliminating the need for repeated eye drop administration while promoting wound healing at the same time. Researchers tested the use, safety, and effectiveness of this CMHA-S film in rabbits exposed to a 5.5mm diameter corneal alkali chemical burn. The study showed that CMHA-S hydrogel film was biocompatible, that it stayed intact for at least 96h, and that compared to untreated injured eyes, the eyes treated with the CMHA-S hydrogel film had significantly reduced corneal opacification and swelling, and more rapid corneal healing and re-epithelialization.
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