A Prototype Antifungal Contact Lens
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PURPOSE: To design a contact lens to treat and prevent fungal ocular infections. METHODS: Curved contact lenses were created by encapsulating econazole-impregnated poly(lactic-co-glycolic) acid (PLGA) films in poly(hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (pHEMA) by ultraviolet photopolymerization. Release studies were conducted in phosphate-buffered saline at 37°C with continuous shaking. The contact lenses and their release media were tested in an antifungal assay against Candida albicans. Cross sections of the pre- and postrelease contact lenses were characterized by scanning electron microscopy and by Raman spectroscopy. RESULTS: Econazole-eluting contact lenses provided extended antifungal activity against Candida albicans fungi. Fungicidal activity varied in duration and effectiveness depending on the mass of the econazole-PLGA film encapsulated in the contact lens. CONCLUSIONS: An econazole-eluting contact lens could be used as a treatment for fungal ocular infections.
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