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May 1985

Intraocular Cannula for Continuous, Chronic Drug Delivery: Histopathologic Observations and Function

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Ophthalmology, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and Estelle Doheny Eye Foundation, Los Angeles.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1985;103(5):712-717. doi:10.1001/archopht.1985.01050050104027

• An indwelling cannula for drug delivery was implanted in rabbit eyes. Rabbits were followed up for as long as 1½ years after surgery. They showed almost no adverse effects as a result of the implantation, and cannula patency was demonstrated by the injection of fluorescein sodium through the cannula at various times following surgery. Histopathologic studies using light and electron microscopy were performed at various times to determine the effect of cannula implantation on the eye. Cellular proliferation along the cannula after 1½ years was limited to the region immediately adjacent to the wound and rarely extended to the surrounding retina or ciliary body. The proliferative tissue at the wound site originated mainly from the episclera; the retina and the choroid at the posterior fundus remained intact. Photoreceptor cell metabolism was studied by light microscopic autoradiography following intraocular injection of tritiated leucine to assess photoreceptor outer-segment renewal. Autoradiography showed normal receptor uptake of leucine. A broad band of radioactive labeling of the outer segments resulted from continuous, chronic drug delivery, while a narrow band of labeling resulted from a single intravitreous injection. These data indicate that the cannula system continuously delivered tritiated leucine into the vitreous cavity. We believe that the implanted intraocular cannula, which allows continuous drug delivery on a relatively long-term basis, will be a valuable technique for research and possibly clinical studies.

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