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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 3, 2008 | Vol. 37 No. 24
APL Licenses Eye Drops That Reduce Laser-Surgery Haze

By Michael Buckley
Applied Physics Laboratory

The Applied Physics Laboratory has licensed a nationally and internationally patented formula for eye drops that could speed healing and prevent cloudiness after laser vision-correction surgery.

The exclusive agreement allows Illinois-based AdPharma to develop, seek regulatory approval for and market the drops, invented by APL researcher David Silver with collaborators Adrienne Csutak, Andras Berta and Jozsef Tozser of the University Medical School of Debrecen, Hungary.

Studies have shown that nearly one in 10 laser-surgery patients develops hazy vision several months after the operation; in some cases the effects can last a year or longer. The APL-developed drops would prevent this "haze" from forming in the cornea.

Both PRK and LASIK procedures are performed by using a laser to reshape the tissue of the cornea, which is accessed by removing the top layers of the cornea or by creating a replaceable flap. The drops, now in preclinical experiments, are a plasminogen activator, which stimulates a natural enzyme in tears that promotes healing in the cornea. As doctors can't yet predict which patients will heal abnormally and suffer cloudy vision, the researchers believe the drops could be provided to every patient after surgery because they're harmless to those who wouldn't otherwise develop the haze.

Research on the drops stems from a collaboration that began during Silver's yearlong professorship at Johns Hopkins' Wilmer Eye Institute, at the same time that Csutak had a fellowship there. Additional work ensued while Silver was a visiting professor of ophthalmology in Debrecen.

The drops' potential to accelerate healing and help thousands of eye-surgery patients helped them capture APL's Invention of the Year award in 2001. The technology is patented in the United States and Australia; patents are pending in Japan, Canada and Europe.


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