US 3416530 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Dec. 17, 1968 R. A. NESS 3,416,530
EYEBALL MEDICATION DISPENSING TABLET Filed March 2, 1966 2 Sheets-Sheet l INVENTOR.
R/cHARo A. Nsss BY AT TORNE Y5 Dec. 17, 1968 Filed March 2, 1966 FIG. 3
R. A. NESS EYEBALL MEDICATION DISPENS ING TABLET 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 'AT TORNE Y5 United States Patent 3,416,530 EYEBALL MEDICATION DISPENSING TABLET Richard A. Ness, Fergus Falls, Minn. 56537 Filed Mar. 2, 1966, Ser. No. 531,311 7 Claims. (Cl. 128260) This invention relates generally to the treatment of disseases of the eye, and more particularly, to novel means for dispensing medication to the human eyeball.
At the present time, in the treatment of eye diseases, such as glaucoma, medication is applied to the cornea of the eye in liquid or ointment form. In many cases, to be effective, the application of medication to the cornea should be substantially continuous. Such a procedure is highly inconvenient and confining to the patient. At best, the medication is applied at intervals during the day and night. However, the difiiculty with such periodic application is that the eye receives a massive dose at the time of application, and shortly thereafter, substantially all of the medication is washed away by tears, leaving the eye, particularly the cornea thereof, without medication until the next dose is applied.
An important object of this invention is the provision of means whereby medication is applied to the eyeball continuously over an extended period of time.
Another object of this invention is the provision of a medication dispensing device which may be quickly and easily applied to the eyeball, which will dispense medication thereto-at a predetermined rate of speed, and which may be as quickly and easily removed and replaced when the supply of medicament is exhausted.
Still another object of this invention is the provision of a medication dispensing device having means providing a visual indication of the quantity of medicament available to the eyeball.
Yet another object of this invention is the provision of a medication dispensing device which will conform to the curvature of the sclera so as to fit comfortably in the culde-sac of the conjunctiva between the upper eyelid and the eyeball or globe in radially spaced relation to the cornea, and disposed in the path of tear flow to the cornea, whereby to be responsive to flow of tears to dispense medicament thereto.
To the above ends, I provide a medication dispensing tablet-like body of concavo-convex section and of flexible material and having a smooth curved outline, the concave inner surface of said body having a generally spherical radius conforming substantially to the radius of the scleral portion of an eyeball, the body containing a supply of medicament and adapted to dispense the medicament to tears during flow of said tears from the lacrimal gland toward the cornea of the eyeball, when the body is applied to the eyeball as set forth. The above, and still further highly important objects and advantages of this invention will become apparent from the following detailed specification, appended cl-aims and attached drawings.
Referring to the drawings, which illustrate the invention, and in which like reference characters indicate like parts throughout the several views:
FIG. 1 is a view partly in front elevation and partly diagrammatic, of a human eye, illustrating the use of the invention;
FIG. 2 is a view partly in vertical section and partly diagrammatic of an eyeball and the upper and lower eyelids associated therewith, showing the placement of the medication dispensing tablet of this invention;
FIG. 3 is a view in top plan of a preferred form of medication dispensing tablet of this invention;
FIG. 4 is a longitudinal section, taken on the line 44 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is a transverse section taken substantially on the line 5-5 of FIG. 3;
FIG. 6 is a view corresponding ot FIG. 3 but showing a modified form of tablet;
FIG. 7 is a view in perspective of means for packaging the tablet of this invention; and
FIG. 8 is an enlarged transverse section, taken on the line 88 of FIG. 7.
Referring particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, a human eye is shown, more or less diagrammatically, as comprising an eyeball 1, and upper and lower eyelids 2 and 3 respectively, the eyeball 1 being covered for the greater parts of its area by the sclera 4 and at its anterior portion by the cornea 5. The eyelids 2 and 3 are lined with a epithelial membrane or conjunctiva 6 which covers the exposed portion of the eyeball including the cornea 5, that portion covering the cornea being transparent, that portion of the conjunctiva 6 which lines the upper eyelid 2 and the underlying portion of the sclera 4 defining a cul-de-sac 7. Upper and lower eyelashes are indicated at 8 and 9 respectively. Other details of the structure of the eyeball 1 are not directly concerned with the structure of the instant invention, detailed showing and description thereof being omitted in the interest of brevity. The usual lacrimal gland associated with the eyeball 1 is shown by dot and dash lines in FIG. 1 and indicated by the numeral 10.
The preferred embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIGS. l-S, a hollow tablet-like body 11, of concavoconvex cross section, is shown as comprising inner and outer walls 12 and 13 respectively, the walls 12 and 13 being joined at their marginal edge portions and defining a chamber 14 that is filled with medicament 15. The marginal juncture of the walls 12 and 13 is rounded, as indicated at 16 in FIGS. 4 and 5, so as to avoid sharp edges and, in the preferred embodiment of the invention, the
outline of the body 11 is bean-shaped or reniform as shown in FIGS. 1 and 3. Communication between the chamber 14 and the exterior of the body 11 is had through a plurality of capillary openings 17 in the walls 12 and 13, as well as through the joined edges thereof. The marginal edges of the inner and outer walls 12 and 13 may be joined together by any suitable means, such as heat-sealing, gluing or the like. Preferably, the capillary openings 17 are disposed in the areas of the walls 12 and 13 adjacent the marginal edges thereof as shown particularly in FIG. 3.
In order that the body 11 may comfortably fit in the cul-de-sac 7, the overall dimensions of the body 11 are quite small. Preferably, the overall length of the body 11 is approximately fifteen millimeters, the width thereof intermediate its ends being in the neighborhood of eleven or twelve millimeters. The outer surface 18, which is adapted to be disposed adjacent the sclera, of the inner wall 12 is generally spherical, having a spherical radius of approximately twelve millimeters, corresponding to the radius of the scleral portion of the eyeball. Obviously, the dimensions noted above may be varied in accordance with eyeballs of different sizes. It will be noted, with reference to FIGS. 4 and 5, that the body 11 is of substantially greater thickness at its central portion than at the marginal edge thereof, whereby to define a chamber 14 of a :size to contain sufiicient highly concentrated medication for adequate treatment over at least a days time. Preferably, the maximum thickness of the body 11 is approximately one to one and one-half millimeters. When the body 11, filled with medicament 15, is placed in the cul-de-sac 7, some of the tear liquid flowing from the lacrimal gland 10 to and across the eyeball 1 will enter the chamber 14 through some of the capillary openings 17, and outwardly therefrom through others of the openings 17, carrying with it some of the medicament 15. Responsive to blinking action of the upper eyelid 2, the tear liquid and medicament mixture will flow over the cornea 5 which absorbs the medicament, thus administering a constant supply of medicament to the cornea until the supply within the chamber 14 is exhausted. Normally, the lacrimal gland is disposed just slightly above and posteriorly or rearwardly of the cul-de-sac 7 in a depression of the upper, outer wall of the orbit, not shown. The flow of tears from the lacrimal gland 10 is generally diagonally across the cornea toward the puncta, as is wellknown to those skilled in this art, the general direction of tear flow being indicated by arrows in FIG. 1.
The tablet-like body 11 may be made from any suitable material that is flexible, biologically inert, nonellergenic, insoluble in tear liquid, and chemically compatible with the medicament in the chamber 14. The walls 12 and 13 of the body 11 may be made from polyethylene or any other of well-known synthetic plastic materials having the above-mentioned characteristics. The medicament in the chamber 14 comprises the desired medication for treatment and a soluble or semi-soluble carrier or matrix, the matrix being of any suitable substance such as gum acacia, gum tragacanth, or the like. The matrix serves to hold the medication together during fabrication of the body 11, and operates as a diluent during the medication dispensing operation of the body 11.
Insertion of the body 11 into the cul-de-sac 7 and removal of the body 11 therefrom is a relatively simple and easy operation. The body 11 may be mounted on or grasped by a suitable tool or holder, not shown, but which may include a minute suction cup for engaging the outer Wall of the body 11. The upper eyelid is raised upwardly and outwardly adjacent the outer corner portion of the eye to open the cul-de-sac 7, and the body 11 inserted and released from the holder. The holder may be one of several types commonly used to insert and remove present day corneal contact lenses, artificial eyes and the like.
The present invention contemplates the use of an indicator dye in the medicament 15 to serve as a visual indication as to the supply of medicament within the chamber 14. For this purpose, a small amount of methylene blue or any suitable dye material is used. So that the medicament 15 may be easily seen, the outer wall 13 of the body 11 is preferably transparent, the inner wall 12 being preferably opaque and having a color in substantial contrast to the color of the medicament 15 or indicator dye.
The modified form of the invention illustrated in FIG. 6 comprises a body 19 that is generally elliptical in outline but which in all other respects is identical to the form of body 11 illustrated in FIGS. 1-5. The parts of the body 19 shown in FIG. 6, corresponding to similar parts of the body 11, are indicated by corresponding reference numerals with prime marks added. Thus the outer wall 13 and the marginal edge 16' are provided with capillary openings 17' and it may be assumed that the body 19 is cross-sectionally similar to the body 11, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5.
A preferred means for packaging the tablets of this invention is shown in FIGS. 7 and 8. A relatively thick sheet-like base member 20 is shown as being formed to provide a plurality of upwardly opening pockets 21, each for reception of a different one of the tablets of bodies 11 or 19, and having upwardly dished bottom walls 22 which substantially fit the overlying inner wall-s of the bodies 11 or 19. A relatively thin cover sheet 23 overlies the base member 20 and is releasably adhered to the top surface thereof intermediate the pockets 21 and adjacent the marginal edge of the base member 20. Preferably, the base member 20 and cover sheet 23 are made from synthetic plastic sheet material, the cover sheet 23 being preferably transparent so that occupancy of any of the pockets 21 by a tablet may be readily seen. Further, when packaging the tablets, it is desirable to introduce a small amount of the medicament into the various pockets 21 to maintain the outer surfaces of the tablets or bodies 11 or 19 in a moist condition for ease of application to the eyeball. Preferably, the upper surfaces of the base member 20 in the pockets 21 are corrugated, knurled, or otherwise roughened, as indicated at 21a, to prevent the liquid in the pockets 21 from causing the bodies 11 to adhere to the pockets 21, and to break any suction therebetween, which might occur if the surfaces of the pockets 21 were smooth.
It will be appreciated that the outline of the tablets 11 or 19 may be of any curved configuration, such as circular, if desired. Further, the capillary openings 17 and 17 need not be necessarily circular as shown. If desired, the walls 12, 13, 12' and 13 may be made from porous material having the characteristics above described in connection with the body 11. Still further, this invention contemplates a body of the shape or shapes above described, which in itself is a solid body, as distinguished from the bodies 11 or 19 which define inner chambers, but which is in itself sufficiently porous to receive the desired amount of medicament and retain the same until the medicament is gradually leached therefrom under the action of tear flow. In such a modification, the body, not shown, may be made from suitable material of a given color, the medication being dyed to a contrasting color, whereby to provide an indication as to the presence or absence of medication in the porous body.
While I have shown and described a preferred form and a single modification of medication dispensing tablet, it will be understood that the same may be produced in other different shapes, such as circular, and that other modifications may be made without departure from the spirit and scope of the invention, as defined in the claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A medication dispensing tablet for a human eyeball, said tablet comprising a cross-sectionally concavoconvex body of flexible material for insertion into the cul-de-sac of the conjunctiva between the sclera of the eyeball and upper eyelid in generally radially spaced relation to the cornea of the eyeball and in the path of flow of tears from the associated lacrimal gland, said body having a curved outline and an inner concave surface, said concave surface having a generally spherical radius substantially equal to that of the outer scleral surface of an eyeball, and a supply of medicament contained within said body, said body being responsive to flow of tears thereover, when the body is applied to the eyeball, to dispense said medicament to the eyeball generally above the cornea, said body being so constructed and arranged that the rate of dispensing said medicament is dependent upon the rate of flow of tears over said body.
2. The medication dispensing tablet defined in claim 1 in which the marginal outline of said body is generally elliptical.
3. The medication dispensing tablet defined in claim 1 in which the marginal outline of said boy is generally bean-shaped.
4. The medication dispensing tablet defined in claim 1 in which said body comprises a pair of inner and outer walls defining a chamber for the medicament, said body having multiple perforations through at least one of said walls, whereby the medicament in said chamber seeps outwardly fro-m said chamber into the tear flow over said body 5. The medication dispensing tablet defined in claim 1 characterized by dye in said medicament for visual indication of the presence of medicament in said body.
5 6 6. The medication dispensing tablet defined in claim References Cited f! which tthe 03ml Of Of saiddbodayl UNITED STATES PATENTS 1s ransparen, 5211 me icarnen incu ing a me 1cm agent and a soluble matrix, characterized by a dye of a 772,028 10/1904 Carpenter 128-260 given color in said medicament, for visual indication of 5 32? 52223;
the presence of medicament in said chamber.
7. The medication dispensing tablet defined in claim 6 l 4 in which the inner one of the Walls of said body is dyed ADELE EAGER Puma), Exammer' to a given color, the dye in said medicament being of a U S C1 X R color substantially different from that of the colored inner 10 Wall. 128261, 268; 16759; 20663.2