Impact of a Hyaluronic Acid-Grafted Layer on the Surface Properties of Model Silicone Hydrogel Contact Lenses
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The introduction of high oxygen transmissibility silicone hydrogel lenses ameliorated hypoxia-related complications, making them the most prescribed type of contact lens (CL). Despite the progress made over the last 2 decades to improve their clinical performance, symptoms of ocular dryness and discomfort and a variety of adverse clinical events are still reported. Consequently, the rate of CL wear discontinuation has not been appreciably diminished by their introduction. Aiming to improve the interfacial interactions of silicone hydrogel CLs with the ocular surface, a biomimetic layer of hydrophilic glycosaminoglycan hyaluronic acid (HA) (100 kDa) was covalently attached to the surface of model poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate- co-3-methacryloxypropyl-tris-(trimethylsiloxy)silane) (pHEMA- co-TRIS) silicone hydrogel materials via UV-induced thiol-ene "click" chemistry. The surface structural changes after each modification step were studied by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy-attenuated total reflectance and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Successful grafting of a homogeneous HA layer to the surface of the model silicone hydrogels was confirmed by the consistent appearance of N (1s) and the significant decrease of the Si (2p) peaks, as determined by low-resolution angle-resolved XPS. The HA-grafted surfaces demonstrated reduced contact angles, dehydration rate, and nonspecific deposition of lysozyme and albumin, while maintaining their optical transparency (>90%). In vitro studies demonstrated that the HA-grafted pHEMA- co-TRIS materials did not show any toxicity to human corneal epithelial cells. These results suggest that surface immobilization of HA via thiol-ene "click" chemistry can be used as a promising surface treatment for silicone hydrogel CLs.
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