Material benefits

Progress in chemical engineering may offer relief for contact lens wearers who suffer from dry eye

Contact lens

Research exploring the mechanical interactions between the eye, cornea and contact lens may help to prevent dry eye.

Chemical engineers at Stanford University hope to create more comfortable contact lenses by investigating the interactions between cells and biomaterial.

A system built by the group is able to observe cells at the same time as testing cell mechanisms and adhesion. Researchers have also created an automated system for controllable experiments at a micro-scale.

Postdoctoral research fellow, Juho Pokki, told OT that corneal cell surfaces were mechanically complex, soft materials.

“Corneal cell mechanics and cell adhesion are altered for different corneal surface conditions such as changes caused by disease, and different contact lenses,” he said.

By measuring mechanics and adhesion, the group will explore which biocompatible materials are most suitable for contact lenses.

The research also has implications for improving contact lens solutions and eye drops for people with dry eye symptoms.

Image credit: David McClenaghan/CSIRO