WEST LAFAYETTE - A Purdue University startup is pursuing a cure for glaucoma by using technology attached to an ordinary contact lens. Bionode LLC is developing a minimally-invasive therapy it says has shown early promise in reducing pressure within the eye that could lead to blindness -- and do it more quickly than traditional eye drop methods. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Television, co-founder Pedro Irazoqui says a small clinical trial with glaucoma patients in Spain showed the technology dipped the pressure in minutes and kept it under control.

Irazoqui described how the technology works. He says the lens therapy prevents neurons around the optic nerve from dying out when pressure bears down on them. A contact lens with a gold trace inside of it creates an electric pulse when paired with companion eye glasses that are worn by the patient and give off a magnetic field. Irazoqui says the standard eye drop therapy takes effect in months, whereas early research has shown pressure reduction from the Bionade system can be measured in five minutes.

The technology will now move on to a larger trial where Irazoqui says the efficacy of Bionade can be tested for longer periods of time. In December, the startup received a $20,000 investment from the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund through its First-Tier Black Award program.