Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy


Biomedical Engineering


Rowan-Virtua School of Translational Biomedical Engineering & Sciences


Byrne, Mark E.

Committee Member 1

Stanzione, Joseph

Committee Member 2

Vernengo, Andrea


contact lens, drug release, macromolecular memory, silicone hydrogel


Drug delivery devices; Contact lenses


Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering


This work involved the synthesis and characterization of novel silicone hydrogel contact lenses that release multiple post-cataract therapeutics at a controlled and extended rate for duration of wear. Drug loading and release was controlled via a polymer engineering technique that creates macromolecular memory, exploiting multiple non-covalent interactions between drug and functional chemistry of polymer chains. Modification of functional monomer to template ratio (M/T ratio) from 1, 7, and 15 in engineered lenses resulted in a 2, 7, and 11 times increase in drug binding respectively compared to controls. Increasing M/T ratio from 3 to 25 resulted in an extension in release from 14 days to 36 days compared to controls that released 80% of their payload in 1 day. In vivo studies in White New Zealand rabbits showed engineered lenses successfully delivered therapeutic concentrations of drug at a constant rate for a week of continuous wear with 26x higher bioavailability than topical drops. Engineered lenses possessed statistically similar structural properties to controls, suggesting that extended release and enhanced drug uptake are controlled by macromolecular memory rather than differences in diffusional resistance. Modulus, optical transmittance, oxygen diffusivity, water content, and contact angle met commercial standards for lenses on the market today. This technology has potential as a more efficacious and effective method of treating ocular ailments, offering higher bioavailability than eye drops while significantly increasing patient compliance.

Available for download on Wednesday, October 02, 2030