Date Approved

10-1-2020

Embargo Period

10-2-2025

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

PhD Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Biomedical Engineering

College

Henry M. Rowan College of Engineering

First Advisor

Byrne, Mark E.

Second Advisor

Stanzione, Joseph

Third Advisor

Vernengo, Andrea

Keywords

contact lens, drug release, macromolecular memory, silicone hydrogel

Subject(s)

Drug delivery devices; Contact lenses

Disciplines

Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering

Abstract

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 Thursday, October 02, 2025

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