Ionic and neutral hydrogels for dermal and ophthalmic applications

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis is concerned with the use of ionic and neutral hydrogels in dermal and ocular applications with particular reference to controlled release applications. The work consists of three interconnected themes.The first area of study is the use of skin adhesive bioelectrode hydrogels as ground plate electrodes for ophthalmic iontophoresis applications. The work provides a basis of understanding the relative contributions made by ionic monomers (such as sodium s-(acrylamide)-2-methyl propane sulphonate and acrylic acid-bis-(3-sulfopropyl-ester, potassium salt) and neutral monomers (such as acryloymorpholine, N,N-dimethylacrylamide and N-vinyl pyrrolidone) to adhesion, rheology and impedance of bioelectrode gels. The general advantage of neutral monomers, which have been used to successfully replace ionic monomers, is that they enable more effective control of independent anion and cation species (for example potassium chloride and sodium chloride) unlike ionic monomers where polymerisation produces an immobile polyanion thus limiting cation mobility. Secondly, release from a completely neutral hydrogel under the influence of mechanical shaking was studied for the case of crosslinked polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) containing low concentration of linear soluble PVA in a contact lens application. The soluble PVA was observed to be eluting by reptation from the lens matrix due to the mechanical action of the eyelid. This process was studied in an in vitro model, which in this research was used as a basis for developing a lens made with enhanced release polymer. The third area of work is related to the factors that control drug release (in particular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) from a hydrogel matrix. This links both electrotherapy applications, such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, in which the passive diffusion from the gel could be used in conjunction with enhanced transmission across the dermal surface with passive diffusion from a contact lens matrix and the development of therapeutic contact lenses.
Date of AwardOct 2005
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBrian Tighe (Supervisor)


  • bioelectrode hydrogel
  • electrotherapy
  • macromolecular release
  • ocular release model
  • release from a hydrogel matrix
  • release modelling

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