Purpose: Soft contact lenses for continuous wear require the use of cleaning regimes which utilise hydrogen peroxide systems or multipurpose cleaning solutions (MPS). The compositions of MPS are becoming increasingly complex
and often include disinfectants, cleaning agents, preservatives, wetting agents, demulcents, chelating and buffering agents. Recent research on solution–lens interactions has focused on specific ocular parameters such as corneal staining.
However the effect of a solution on the lens, particularly silicone hydrogel lenses, itself has received less attention. The purpose of this work was to establish and understand the effects that care solutions have on selected bulk and surface material properties.
Methods: Selected bulk and surface properties of each material (etafilcon A, vifilcon A, balafilcon A, senofilcon A, lotrafilcon A and lotrafilcon B, galyfilcon A) were measured after a 24 h soak in a variety of care solutions.
Additionally the lenses were soaked for 24 h in hyperosmolar (680 mOsm L-1) and hyposmolar (170 mOsm L-1) PBS. A bulk property parameter the total diameter (TD) was measured using an Optimec contact lens analyser. The surface property related CoF of soaked lenses was measured on a nano-tribometer with conditions of load 30 mN, at a distance of 20 mm and speed 30 mm/min.
Results: In terms of bulk properties, change is related to the EWC of the lens, the higher the EWC of the lens the greater the TD changes. Silicone hydrogel lenses have EWCs of <47% and little or no TD changes were observed; lotrafilcon A exhibited no change irrespective of the cleaning solution. Conventional contact lenses have higher EWCs (58% for etafilcon A and 55% for vifilcon A) and the TD was seen to change to a greater extent, for example the etafilcon A material in ReNu MPS had an increase to 14.45± 0.07 mm from the cited 14.2 mm.
Other lenses increased or decreased in TD depending on the solution used. The osmolarity of the solution although important is not the only factor governing change in the TD, for example soaking senofilcon A in hyperosmolar PBS (680 mOsm L-1) for 24 h increased the TD of the lens (+0.25 ± 0.07 mm), however when the same lens type was soaked for 24 h in a MPS with a lower osmolarity there was a similar effect. Biotribology measurements demonstrated that some solution–lens combinations can reduce the CoF by 55%, when compared with biotribology with the native packing solution. An increase in the CoF was observed for other solution–lens combinations.
Conclusions: There is a dramatic difference in bulk and surface performance of specific lens materials with particular care solutions. Individual components of the care solutions have effects on the bulk and surface properties of contact lenses. The affects are not as great with the silicone hydrogel as compared with conventional hydrogels.