A new device invented by a VA nurse makes it easier to use eye drops

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A nurse and case manager at Cincinnati VA Medical Centerthe center of the eye has invented a new device to make it easier for patients to put drops in their eyes.

Terri Ohlinger has noticed that many patients have trouble using eye drops correctly. Many patients find it difficult to squeeze small bottles of eye drops or position the drops on their eyes.

So with the help of University of Cincinnati engineering students, Ohlinger designed a device called “DropEase” to help with the process.

“There were a lot of patients who weren’t getting their eye drops,” Ohlinger told WCPO, an ABC affiliate in Cincinnati. “Or I would very frequently reorder their eye drops because they used too much. A lot of our patients have problems with manual dexterity to the point that they just couldn’t squeeze the bottle, and they just gave up.

DropEase handheld device. Photo courtesy of the VA Technology Transfer Program

The device has an easy to squeeze handle

The DropEase provides a stable platform for self-administered eye drops, with a handle that’s easy to squeeze with weak or shaky hands. The device allows users to set a measured dose to get the right amount of medication every time. Standard eye drop bottles fit into the device.

The team designed two versions: a handheld device and one with an applicator that can be worn like glasses. Ohlinger and his fellow VAs worked with local veterans to test the prototypesand received positive feedback.

The DropEase can help users with conditions such as tremors, Parkinson’s disease or arthritis overcome difficulties with eye drop bottles. The autosqueeze handle makes it easy to apply enough force to a small bottle. The device also has an aiming channel to help direct drops into the eye.

The glasses frame version makes it even easier to position the drops by eliminating the need for the user to hold the bottle up.

The invention could also be used to apply drops of medication to the ear canals.

VA Tech Transfer Helps Advance Invention

Ohlinger filed a patent application with the help of VA Technology transfer program. Tech Transfer is now commercializing the invention to medical device manufacturers for licensing and production through its licensing intermediary, TechLink.

TechLink provides licensing support to businesses free of charge, with royalties from any eventual commercial sales going to the inventor and the VA.

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