The development of new biocompatible ocular prostheses relies on the understanding of the chemical and physical nature of tears and the ocular environment. Once inserted into the body, foreign polymers are rapidly coated with a biofilm, which can alter the biocompatibility.
There is no exception when it comes to the insertion of a contact lens. The contact lens readily adsorbs and absorbs elements from the tear film such as proteins and lipids. The nature of the deposit is dependent on the lens material, patient tear profile and length/mode of wear. This can limit successful contact lens wear and may shorten the life of the lens.
- To understand how tears interact with contact lenses. The contact lens can act as a valuable biomaterial probe enabling the interaction of new materials with a multifarious biological fluid to be studied. - To observe the changes that occur on introducing a contact lens to the ocular surface. - To identify predictive markers in ocular discomfort and dysfunction. - To establish links between clinical observations (e.g. tear break up time, staining etc.) and laboratory analysis of the tear film function. - To use the interaction of the contact lens with the anterior eye as a model body site which allows subjective and objective, biochemical and clinical observations to be made without the need for invasive surgery.