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Biomaterials. 2009 Feb;30(5):867-78. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.10.032. Epub 2008 Nov 17.

Surfactant-laden soft contact lenses for extended delivery of ophthalmic drugs.

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  • 1Chemical Engineering Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-6005, USA.

Abstract

Eye drops are inefficient means of delivering ophthalmic drugs because of limited bioavailability and these can cause significant side effects due to systemic uptake of the drug. The bioavailability for ophthalmic drugs can be increased significantly by using contact lenses. This study focuses on the development of surfactant-laden poly-hydroxy ethyl methacrylate (p-HEMA) contact lenses that can release Cyclosporine A (CyA) at a controlled rate for extended periods of time. We focus on various Brij surfactants to investigate the effects of chain length and the presence of an unsaturated group on the drug release dynamics and partitioning inside the surfactant domains inside the gel. The gels were imaged by cryogenic scanning electron microscopy (cryo-SEM) to obtain direct evidence of the presence of surfactant aggregates in the gel, and to investigate the detailed microstructure for different surfactants. The images show a distribution of nano pores inside the surfactant-laden hydrogels which we speculate are regions of surfactant aggregates, possibly vesicles that have a high affinity for the hydrophobic drug molecule. The gels are further characterized by studying their mechanical and physical properties such as transparency, surface contact angle and equilibrium water content to determine their suitability as extended wear contact lenses. Results show that Brij surfactant-laden p-HEMA gels provide extended release of CyA, and possess suitable mechanical and optical properties for contact lens applications. The gels are not as effective for extended release of two other hydrophobic ophthalmic drugs, dexamethasone (DMS) and dexamethasone 21 acetate (DMSA) because of insufficient partitioning inside the surfactant aggregates.

PMID:
19010533
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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