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    Nicotine eye patch hits ophthalmic nerve

    Does occlusion of eye to achieve smoking cessation really make sense?

    The data are convincing—to me at least. No matter how effective pressure-lowering topical ophthalmic medications might be in clinical trials for patients with glaucoma, they very often fail in the real world. Roughly 50% of patients have been found not be adherent to their medication over 75% of the time.1

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    It is a challenge for elderly glaucoma patients to reliably and correctly administer their glaucoma medications in the manner and at the time that they should.

    As a result, sustained-release devices are now in trials. Punctal plugs are being used to deliver anti-inflammatory agents after cataract surgery and pressure-lowering drugs in patients with elevated IOP. Retina specialists have been ahead of the curve with drug-delivery devices, inserting through the pars plans implants that release ganciclovir and fluocinolone to treat cytomegalovirus retinitis and uveitis, respectively.

    Similarly, retina specialists have found that intravitreal injection of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agents has revolutionized the treatment of age-related macular degeneration, and again has removed the patient from the drug-delivery equation (except that the patient actually has to keep his/her appointment).

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    Representing a conceptual leap forward is the recent announcement that a nicotine patch, applied to the eye, can be used to treat a non-ophthalmic condition (i.e., the addiction to cigarettes) rather than an eye disease.

    According to a recent news report,2 the Nicoderm Eye Patch is an effective and convenient means to help patients quit smoking.³

    These discreet and easy-to-use eye patches allow users to curb their cigarette cravings by delivering a steady flow of therapeutic nicotine directly into the bloodstream through the optic nerve,² said company spokesperson Caitlin Timmons, adding that the user simply removes the backing from the patch and applies the adhesive layer directly on their exposed cornea.³

    How it works

    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of ...

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    • Anonymous
      I can visualize a nationwide chain of clinics that specialize in eye patches for smokers. With the government mandates for preventative medicine, patients could receive patches for every condition and addiction. Because the medicine enters the optic nerve, alcohol and drug addiction should also be easily cured. The possibilities in mental health will be endless. Diabetes and cancer should also be easy to cure. Is there a facebook or twitter page for doctors and patients to find more information? Someone has to make this a national priority, we sent astronauts to the moon, we must make more eye patches now.
    • Anonymous
      I can visualize a nationwide chain of clinics that specialize in eye patches for smokers. With the government mandates for preventative medicine, patients could receive patches for every condition and addiction. Because the medicine enters the optic nerve, alcohol and drug addiction should also be easily cured. The possibilities in mental health will be endless. Diabetes and cancer should also be easy to cure. Is there a facebook or twitter page for doctors and patients to find more information? Someone has to make this a national priority, we sent astronauts to the moon, we must make more eye patches now.
    • edward dWest
      I think you're supposed to put the patches on both eyes and drive to the real eye doctor with a cigarette in your mouf so you can see the burning ember when it burns your lips.

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