The poor retention and efficacy of instilled drops as a means of delivering drugs to the ophthalmic environment is well-recognised. The potential value of contact lenses as a means of ophthalmic drug delivery, and consequent improvement of pre-corneal retention is one obvious route to the development of a more effective ocular delivery system. Furthermore, the increasing availability and clinical use of daily disposable contact lenses provides the platform for the development of viable single-day use drug delivery devices based on existing materials and lenses. In order to provide a basis for the effective design of such devices, a systematic understanding of the factors affecting the interaction of individual drugs with the lens matrix is required. Because a large number of potential structural variables are involved, it is necessary to achieve some rationalisation of the parameters and physicochemical properties (such as molecular weight, charge, partition coefficients) that influence drug interactions. Ophthalmic dyes and structurally related compounds based on the same core structure were used to investigate these various factors and the way in which they can be used in concert to design effective release systems for structurally different drugs. Initial studies of passive diffusional release form a necessary precursor to the investigation of the features of the ocular environment that over-ride this simple behaviour. Commercially available contact lenses of differing structural classifications were used to study factors affecting the uptake of the surrogate actives and their release under 'passive' conditions. The interaction between active and lens material shows considerable and complex structure dependence, which is not simply related to equilibrium water content. The structure of the polymer matrix itself was found to have the dominant controlling influence on active uptake; hydrophobic interaction with the ophthalmic dye playing a major role.
- ocular drug delivery
- ophthalmic dyes
- passive release mechanism
- structure-property relationship
- therapeutic contact lenses