DSM has pioneered many innovative materials-based solutions to meet the needs of the ophthalmic industry. Our specialized biomaterials technologies have helped improve comfort for contact lens wearers for over a decade, and we continue to innovate with both our drug delivery systems and implantable materials showing great promise.​

Breakthrough in eye treatment

Approximately 1.3 billion people around the world suffer some form of vision impairment. About 80% is considered avoidable. A key success factor in any eye therapy is the application of the right dosage of medicine in the right place over time. Diseases of the retina (back of the eye) require delivery of medicine via frequent localized needle injections that cause significant discomfort and inconvenience.

DSM developed an innovative, sustained-release drug delivery solution to address this therapeutic need. Targeting retinal disorders such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetic macular edema (DME), it has shown strong efficacy in preclinical models. A small, injectable, biodegradable polymer fiber is loaded with medicine and injected at a specific location in the eye. The medicine is then released over several months until the fiber degrades. The new treatment is designed to reduce the need for injections in the eye from almost monthly to less than once every four months. Additional fibers can subsequently be injected to ensure continuous therapy.

We have commercialized this solution through a strategic R&D collaboration and license agreement with Aerie Pharmaceuticals. In 2019, the first ever clinical trial of the AR-13503 Sustained Release (SR) Implant in patients with neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) or diabetic macular edema (DME) began. “This agreement opens up many new opportunities as we continue to innovate with new drugs and technologies to potentially treat many diseases of the eye,” says Dr. Vicente Anido, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Aerie. “This is a platform on which we can build our innovative sustained-release strategies for many ophthalmic diseases, including glaucoma.”


With DSM’s sustained-release delivery solution we are helping people to live healthier and more fulfilling lives. The greatest long-term benefit may be to older individuals who are at a higher risk of developing eye-related illnesses; according to the World Health Organization (WHO), of the 253 million people affected by blindness and vision impairment, 81% are aged fifty or older. Furthermore, by enabling more successful treatment solutions at a patient level, the solution can help ease the growing socio-economic impact of eye disease in rapidly aging populations, such as in Europe, North America and Japan.


A key step forward in our objective has been commercializing our solution through a strategic collaboration and license agreement with Aerie Pharmaceuticals, a leading ophthalmic pharmaceutical company. The partnership is helping to bring DSM’s innovation to millions of patients around the world and will potentially enable better treatment for a wide range of ophthalmic conditions.

The strong value proposition of our solution gives us a competitive edge, which we can replicate in other fields of medicine where sustained-release drug delivery may be beneficial.


Over 20 million people reached globally​

Examples of medical devices in which DSM biomaterials and technologies have been applied:​

  • Biostable implants​
  • Contact lenses​
  • Corneal inlays​
  • Drug delivery systems​
  • Glaucoma shunts

DSM technologies serving this market​

  • Polyester Amides

    Polyester Amides

    Discover our implantable drug delivery systems made of bioresorbable polymers that release precise quantities of therapeutic agents gradually over time.

  • Polyurethanes


    Explore our wide array of polyurethanes, how they can be adapted to your product designs and how we can create innovative solutions that add value to your portfolio.

DSM in ophthalmics brochure​

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  • Our products

    Our products

    DSM portfolio of innovative biomedical materials and process manufacturing technologies: Biomedical Polyethylenes, Biomedical polyurethanes, Collagen Technology, Device Development, and Extracellular Matrix (ECM) Technology. Learn more.

  • The markets we serve

    The markets we serve

    DSM Biomedical offers the broadest portfolio of biomedical materials and manufacturing across market applications, including orthopedics, ophthalmology, neurology, cardiology, diabetes, wound, and continence care.

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