Easy on the eye

A natural mucus component could make contact lens wear more comfortable

German researchers report that a purified porcine gastric mucin coating prevents tissue damage during contact lens wear.

A study, published in Advanced Materials Interfaces, found that as well as preventing damage to the cornea, mucin coating also improved the performance of hydrogel lenses.

The experiment involved isolating a mucin compound, MUC5AC, from the stomachs of pigs. The chemical structure of this compound is similar to the human mucin molecule.

Using pig eyes, the researchers tested how the lab-isolated mucins affected the performance of contact lenses.

They found that the mucin passively absorbed into the contact lens material and provided a lubricating layer between the contact lens and the cornea.

The researchers concluded that eye drops or contact lens storage solutions containing purified gastric mucins could be a useful tool in fighting ocular dryness.