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Phan C-M, Chan V, Walther H, Pereira da Mota A, Lorenzo CA, Jones L. Developing a High-throughput in vitro Eye Model for Evaluating Ocular Drug Delivery with Contact Lenses XXV Biennial Meeting of the International Society for Eye Research, Feb 21, 2023 [ Show Abstract ]
Purpose: To develop a high-throughput in vitro eye model for evaluating ocular drug delivery with contact lenses (CLs).
Method: The eye model was designed using CAD software and manufactured using a combination of fabrication methods, including moulding, CNC machining, laser cutting, and 3D printing. The model consists of an eyeball, an upper and lower eyelid, and a collection tray to collect flow-through fluid. The portion of the upper eyelid that comes into contact with the eyeball is moulded with a highly wettable and durable polyvinyl alcohol hydrogel. The centre of the eyeball is designed with a 300 µm thick, 15 mm diameter cut-out that allows for a contact lens to be mounted. Simulated tear fluids can be delivered through an inlet located on the upper eyelid using a pump. During each blink cycle, the eyelid slides and flexes across the eyeball to create an artificial tear film layer. The blink distance, speed and rate are actuated using a motor controlled by an Arduino board and software. The release of a red dye from two CLs (etafilcon A and senofilcon A) and the release of two drugs (resveratrol and pravastatin sodium) from drug-loaded CLs were evaluated using the model and compared to the traditional vial testing method. Phosphate buffered saline (PBS) was used as the simulated tear fluid and infused into the model at 5 µL/min, at a blink rate of 1 blink/10 s.
Results: The fluid flows from the inlet, spreads across the eye, accumulates in the lower eyelid and then flows into the collection tray via gravity. During this process, approximately 25% of the fluid originally injected into the model was lost due to evaporation, nonspecific absorption, and residual dead volume. Overall, the release of the dye and drugs from the CLs was higher in a vial compared with the eye model. Interestingly, the drug release profiles from the drug-loaded CLs on the eye model were similar to in vivo results previously collected from a rabbit study, although the total amount of drugs released was significantly less. 9 or 24 CLs can be tested with one syringe or peristaltic pump, respectively.
Conclusion: The current eye model developed from this study could be used to measure the release of ophthalmic drugs or comfort agents from CLs in a high-throughput manner. However, further work is required to fine-tune the parameters of the model, such as the composition of the tear fluid, blink rate, tear flow rates, and temperature, to better simulate in vivo conditions.