The eye has many barriers with specific anatomies that make it difficult to deliver drugs to targeted ocular tissues, and topical administration using eye drops or ointments usually needs multiple instillations to maintain the drugs’ therapeutic concentration because of their low bioavailability. A drug-eluting contact lens is one of the more promising platforms for controllable ocular drug delivery, and, among various manufacturing methods for drug-eluting contact lenses, incorporation of novel polymeric vehicles with versatile features makes it possible to deliver the drugs in a sustained and extended manner. Using the diverse physicochemical properties of polymers for nanoparticles or implants that are selected according to the characteristics of drugs, enhancement of encapsulation efficiency and prolonged drug release are possible. Even though therapeutic contact lenses with polymeric vehicles allow us to achieve sustained ocular drug delivery, drug leaching during storage and distribution and the possibility of problems related to surface roughness due to the incorporated vehicles still need to be discussed before application in a real clinic. This review highlights the overall trends in methodology to develop therapeutic contact lenses with polymeric vehicles and discusses the limitations including comparison to cosmetically tinted soft contact lenses.
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