Purpose: To alter the composition and structure of silicone hydrogel contact lenses to achieve controlled release of dexamethasone and evaluate the lens optical and mechanical properties compared to commercial lenses. There is a tremendous need for controlled release of drugs from ocular biomaterials as the majority of ophthalmic drugs are delivered via topical eye drops, which have low bioavailability and patient compliance.Methods: Poly(PDMS-co-TRIS-co-DMA) contact lenses were synthesized with varying PDMS/TRIS:DMA ratios (0.25:1, 0.67:1, 1.5:1) as well as with additional crosslinking monomers. Lenses were characterized via in vitro release studies in a microfluidic device at ocular flowrates and in large well-mixed volumes, optical quality studies over visible wavelengths, mechanical analysis, and determination of polymer volume fraction in the swollen state.Results: Extended and controlled release of therapeutically relevant concentrations of dexamethasone was achieved for multiple day, continuous wear up to 60 days at in vitro ocular flowrates. Release was delayed due to a combination of increased hydrophobic to hydrophilic composition and the inclusion of additional structural constraints, both of which decreased the polymer volume fraction in the swollen state. However, decreased mass release rates were at the expense of increased modulus and decreased lens flexibility. All lenses had high optical clarity (∼90% transmittance) and contained highly oxygen permeable siloxane composition similar to those found in commercial silicone hydrogel lenses, but they had poor flexibility for use as soft contact lenses.Conclusions: Based on our results, the lenses described herein likely have too high of a modulus for use as extended-wear, soft contact lenses with drug release. Therefore, other controlled release methods would be better suited for maintaining adequate mechanical properties and achieving controlled and extended release for the duration of wear in soft, silicone hydrogel contact lens biomaterials. However, these biomaterials may find clinical use as more rigid gas permeable contact lenses or inserts.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biomedical Engineering