Structural design of contact lens-based drug delivery systems; in vitro and in vivo studies of ocular triggering mechanisms

Anisa Mahomed*, James S. Wolffsohn, Brian J. Tighe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study identifies and investigates the potential use of in-eye trigger mechanisms to supplement the widely available information on release of ophthalmic drugs from contact lenses under passive release conditions. Ophthalmic dyes and surrogates have been successfully employed to investigate how these factors can be drawn together to make a successful system. The storage of a drug-containing lens in a pH lower than that of the ocular environment can be used to establish an equilibrium that favours retention of the drug in the lens prior to ocular insertion. Although release under passive conditions does not result in complete dye elution, the use of mechanical agitation techniques which mimic the eyelid blink action in conjunction with ocular tear chemistry promotes further release. In this way differentiation between passive and triggered in vitro release characteristics can be established. Investigation of the role of individual tear proteins revealed significant differences in their ability to alter the equilibrium between matrix-held and eluate-held dye or drug. These individual experiments were then investigated in vivo using ophthalmic dyes. Complete elution was found to be achievable in-eye; this demonstrated the importance of that fraction of the drug retained under passive conditions and the triggering effect of in-eye conditions on the release process. Understanding both the structure-property relationship between drug and material and in-eye trigger mechanisms, using ophthalmic dyes as a surrogate, provides the basis of knowledge necessary to design ocular drug delivery vehicles for in-eye release in a controllable manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-105
Number of pages9
JournalContact Lens and Anterior Eye
Issue number2
Early online date18 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2015, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


  • ocular drug delivery
  • ocular environment
  • ophthalmic dyes
  • trigger release mechanism


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