Dry eye syndrome has been associated with the lack of phospholipids in the tear film, leading to disruption of the tear film and subsequent irritation. Characterization of the transport and release of phospholipids from a silicone hydrogel contact lens is required to assess the possible use of these lenses for phospholipid delivery to increase patient comfort. This thesis examines the use of silicone hydrogel contact lenses as phospholipid delivery devices. Contact lenses of silicone hydrogel composition were loaded with varying amounts of radiolabeled 1,2-dimyristoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphocholine (DMPC) from a solution of n-propanol. These lenses were eluted at 35°C into artificial tear fluid (ATF) or ATFcontaining varying amounts of DMPC. The amount of DMPC loaded into a lens is a linear function of the time of exposure to the DMPC/propanol solution. The initial rate of elution into ATF appears to be diffusion controlled for at least 10 hrs and is proportional to the amount of DMPC loaded. The ease of loading and the controllable release of DMPC from silicone hydrogels present the possibility of using such lenses to counter eye discomfort caused by inherently low levels of phospholipid in tears. To reduce manufacturing steps and concern for residual n-propanol in the lens, it is beneficial to incorporate the DMPC into the monomer formulation and then photopolymerize the lens. Results showed that using this process, DMPC can be placed in the lens and then eluted at faster rates than when it was loaded from n-propanol.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Chemical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





silicone hydrogel contact lens, dry eye discomfort, phospholipid delivery, artificial tear fluid, elution, drug transport