Analytical techniques for the study of soft contact lens spoilation

  • E.I. Pearce

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Soft contact lens wear has become a common phenomenon in recent times. The contact lens when placed in the eye rapidly undergoes change. A film of biological material builds up on and in the lens matrix. The long term wear characteristics of the lens ultimately depend on this process. With time distinct structures made up of biological material have been found to build up on the lens. A fuller understanding of this process and how it relates to the lens chemistry could lead to contact lenses that are better tolerated by the eye.
The tear film is a complex biological fluid, it is this fluid that bathes the lens during wear. It is reasonable to suppose that it is material derived from this source that accumulates on the lens.
To understand this phenomenon it was decided to investigate the make up and conformation of the protein species that are found on and in the lens. As inter individual variations in tear fluid composition have been found it is important to be able to study the proteins on a single lens. Many of the analytical techniques used in bio research are not suitable for this study because of the lack of sensitivity.
Work with poly acrylamide electrophoresis showed the possibility of analyzing the proteins extracted from a single lens. The development of a biotin avidin electro-blot and an enzyme linked aniibody electro-blot, lead to the high sensitivity detection and identification of the proteins present.
The extraction of proteins from a lens is always incomplete. A method that analyses the proteins in situ would be a great advancement. Fourier transform infra red microscopy was developed to a point where a thin section of a contact lens could yield information about the proteins present and their conformation.
The three dimensional structure of the gross macroscopic structures termed white spots was investigated using confocal laser microscopy.
Date of AwardDec 1991
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBrian Tighe (Supervisor)


  • contact lenses
  • tear proteins
  • Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy
  • confocal microscopy
  • poly-acrylamide gel electrophoresis

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