Iontophoresis: from the lab to the bed side

Exp Eye Res. 2004 Mar;78(3):751-7. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2003.10.017.


Pioneer work on iontophoresis undertaken by David Maurice during the 1970s and 1980s laid the initial groundwork for its potential implementation as a promising ocular therapeutic modality. A better understanding of tissue interactions within the eye during electric current application, along with better designs of drug delivery devices have enabled us to pursue David Maurice's original ideas and take them from the bench to the bed side. In the present study we demonstrate the potential application of an iontophoresis device (Eyegate, Optis, France) for the treatment of certain human eye diseases. Seventeen patients received a penetrating keratoplasty (PKP) at various intervals before presentation with active graft rejection in our clinic and were treated using this iontophoresis device. Methylprednisolone sodium succinate (MP) 62.5 mg/ml was infused within the Eyegate ocular probe container and an electrical current of 1.5 mA was delivered for 4 min with the negative pole connected to the ocular probe. Patients were treated on an ambulatory basis and received a standard course of three iontophoresis applications given once a day over 3 consecutive days. After treatment, 15 of the 17 treated eyes (88%) demonstrated a complete reversal of the rejection processes. In two eyes, only a partial and temporary improvement was observed. The mean best corrected visual acuity of all 17 patients during the last follow up visit was 0.37 +/- 0.2 compared to 0.06 +/- 0.05 before initiation of the iontophoresis treatment. The mean follow-up time was 13.7 months with a range of 5-29 months for the 17 patients. No significant side-effects associated with the iontophoresis treatment were observed. Thus, for the management of active corneal graft rejection, iontophoresis of MP can be an alternative to very frequent instillations of eye drops, or to pulsed intravenous therapy of corticosteroids.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucocorticoids / administration & dosage*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Graft Rejection / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Iontophoresis / methods*
  • Keratoplasty, Penetrating*
  • Methylprednisolone Hemisuccinate / administration & dosage*
  • Methylprednisolone Hemisuccinate / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity


  • Glucocorticoids
  • Methylprednisolone Hemisuccinate