Device drug delivery to the eye. Collagen shields, iontophoresis, and pumps

Ophthalmology. 1991 May;98(5):725-32. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(91)32227-9.


External devices have been used to enhance drug delivery. This article reviews the role of collagen shields, iontophoresis, and pumps used to deliver ophthalmic medications. Collagen shields have been used to deliver drugs and promote corneal epithelial healing. Presoaked collagen shields deliver many drugs to the eye as well as or better than traditional methods such as frequent topical therapy or subconjunctival injection. The efficacy of drug delivery by collagen shields was demonstrated in animal models of graft rejection and bacterial keratitis. Iontophoresis uses an electrical current to carry an ionized drug across tissue. Transcorneal iontophoresis delivers high concentrations of a drug to the anterior segment of the eye. Transscleral iontophoresis bypasses the lens-iris diaphragm and produces adequate vitreous levels. Pumps deliver fluid to the eye for extended periods of time via a tube with its distal opening in the conjunctival sac, corneal stroma, anterior chamber, or vitreous cavity. Clinical acceptance of the collagen shield for drug delivery to the anterior segment is better than iontophoresis or pumps, probably because the collagen shield is simpler and more convenient to use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Animals
  • Biological Dressings*
  • Collagen
  • Cornea / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Drug Carriers*
  • Humans
  • Infusion Pumps, Implantable*
  • Iontophoresis*
  • Ophthalmic Solutions


  • Drug Carriers
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Collagen