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Tackling Contact Lens Discomfort with Comfort Agents

Updated: Feb 10, 2019

We have all heard of the problem with contact lens wearers experiencing discomfort. In fact, contact lens discomfort remains the primary reason for why people chose to stop wearing them. One of the more recent ideas to battle discomfort is by releasing “comfort agents” (such as an ocular lubricant: polyvinyl alcohol) from the contact lens during wear time.

We decided to test this idea on several different commercially available contact lenses. The contact lens materials tested either already innately contained the comfort agent or were loaded with the agent by our lab. Using our eye model, we wanted to see if the comfort agent was actually being released by the different contact lenses over time. What we found was a burst release of comfort agent within the first 4.5 hours from all the lens types, which trailed off to very low levels for the rest of the duration. Out of all the tested lenses, the material that was originally synthesized with the comfort agent released higher amounts compared to the lens materials that were simply loaded with the agent.

These results tell us that lenses release higher levels of comfort agents in materials synthesized with the agent as a constituent rather than lenses that were simply loaded with the agent. Also, it suggests that down the road, molecular vehicles could be used to increase contact time of comfort agents for sustained contact lens comfort. So, instead of 4.5 hour of initial comfort, contact lens wearers can benefit from the comfort agent relief all day long.

To read more check out this journal article that we published:

Phan CM et al. Analysis of polyvinyl alcohol release from commercially available daily disposable contact lenses using an in vitro eye model. 2018.

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