Lasers have revolutionized the world of eye surgery. Unfortunately, the recovery afterward remains an uncomfortable experience that requires eye drops and sometimes prescription pain medications.

The eye drops must be placed in the eye every few hours, and the pain medications come with the risk of overmedication and addiction.

But pain relief after laser surgery may soon change. Researchers have discovered a way to deliver a long-lasting anesthetic to the eye using contact lenses.

"The contact lenses would be infused with an anesthetic medication which would, at some controlled rate, be delivered to the corneal surface," says ophthalmologist Nicoletta Fynn-Thompson.

Contact lenses are already used after laser eye surgery as bandages. Surgeons place silicone hydrogel contact lenses on the eyes, which can release ophthalmic drugs for a few hours. However, that's inadequate for pain relief.

Scientists at the University of Florida have figured out a way to extend the release of the medication by adding vitamin E to the lenses.

In their study, researchers explain that vitamin E acts as a barrier and extends the release of the anesthetics, providing relief up to a week after surgery.

The time-release contact lenses could make a big difference in pain relief one day. They may become the initial bandage lenses placed on the eyes immediately after surgery.

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