Hydrogel probe for iontophoresis drug delivery to the eye

Esther Eljarrat-Binstock, Frederick Raiskup, Joseph Frucht-Pery, Abraham J. Domb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of a solid hydrogel loaded with a drug solution as a probe for ejecting drugs to the eye upon application of low current iontophoresis. Hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA), cross-linked with ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA), and cross-linked arabinogalactan or dextran were prepared to form solid hydrogels. The hydrogels were examined for their mechanical suitability, absorption of drug solution and in vitro release properties when applying an iontophoretic current through the drug-loaded hydrogel into a solid-agar surface. Transconjunctival and transscleral iontophoresis of gentamicin sulfate was studied in healthy rabbits using drug-loaded disposable HEMA hydrogel disc probes. Gentamicin concentrations in different eye segments were assayed using a fluorescence polarization immunoassay. Preliminary corneal toxicity was examined in rabbits using a current intensity of 2.5 and 5.1 mA/cm2 for 60 and 120 s. The most appropriate hydrogel is composed of HEMA, 2% EGDMA and 75% water. Iontophoresis onto agar gel was found indicative for the evaluation of iontophoretic activity of a hydrogel. Transscleral iontophoretic treatment resulted in high concentrations of drugs in the posterior segments of the eye. Application of iontophoresis onto the rabbit eye caused a reversible swelling of the cornea which lasted a few hours after application. Low current iontophoresis using drug-loaded hydrogel has a potential clinical value in obtaining high drug concentration at posterior segments of the eye.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-413
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Biomaterials Science, Polymer Edition
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Dexamethasone
  • Gentamicin
  • Hydrogel
  • Iontophoresis
  • Transscleral


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