In vitro evaluation of the dehydration characteristics of silicone hydrogel and conventional hydrogel contact lens materials
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PURPOSE: This study investigated the in vitro dehydration performance of silicone hydrogel and conventional hydrogel contact lens materials. METHODS: In vitro dehydration was assessed using a gravimetric method. The mass loss over time of Focus Night&Day, PureVision, Optima, Acuvue and Proclear Compatibles was measured as the ambient temperature increased from room temperature to 34 degrees C under varying airflow and humidity conditions. RESULTS: Dehydration data demonstrated a typical ogival form. The results were best fitted with a double exponential, non-linear regression model, which accounted for at least 99% of the variance. Regardless of material, increased airflow had a greater impact on dehydration rate than increased humidity (P<0.05). Relative dehydration amounts were strongly correlated with initial water content (r(2)=0.92), with higher water content materials dehydrating to a greater extent. CONCLUSIONS: In vitro dehydration studies of conventional and novel silicone-containing hydrogel materials indicated that evaporation rates from materials are predominantly water content related, with only subtle differences between materials of similar water contents being seen. Environmental conditions have a significant impact on in vitro dehydration, with increased airflow having a greater impact than reduced humidity on increasing dehydration rates. In vitro dehydration is closely related to bulk water diffusion rates and, as a result of their low water content, silicone-containing hydrogel materials exhibit low levels of dehydration compared with high water content hydrogel contact lens materials. Further, in vivo studies are necessary to see if the in vitro dehydration behaviour of silicone hydrogel materials is predictive of in-eye performance.
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