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Fluorescent solute-partitioning characterization of layered soft contact lenses.


Partitioning of aqueous packaging, wetting, and care-solution agents into and out of soft contact lenses (SCLs) is important for improving wear comfort and also for characterizing lens physico-chemical properties. We illustrate both features of partitioning by application of fluorescent-solute partitioning into DAILIES TOTAL1® (delefilcon A) water-gradient SCLs, which exhibit a layered structure of a silicone-hydrogel (SiHy) core sandwiched between thin surface-gel layers. Two-photon fluorescence confocal laser-scanning microscopy and attenuated total-reflectance Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) characterize the lens and assess uptake profiles of six prototypical fluorescent solutes. Comparison of solute uptake in a SiHy-core prototype lens (i.e., O2OPTIX(TM)) validates the core SiHy structure of DAILIESTOTAL1®. To establish surface-layer charge, partition coefficients and water contents are obtained for aqueous pH values of 4 and 7.4. Solute fluorescence-intensity profiles clearly confirm a layered structure for the DAILIES TOTAL1® lenses. In all cases, aqueous solute partition coefficients are greater in the surface layers than in the SiHy core, signifying higher water in the surface gels. ATR-FTIR confirms surface-layer mass water contents of 82±3%. Water uptake and hydrophilic-solute uptake at pH 4 compared with that at pH 7.4 reveal that the surface-gel layers are anionic at physiologic pH 7.4, whereas both the SiHy core and O2OPTIX™ (lotrafilcon B) are nonionic. We successfully confirm the layered structure of DAILIES TOTAL1®, consisting of an 80-μm-thick SiHy core surrounded by 10-μm-thick polyelectrolyte surface-gel layers of significantly greater water content and aqueous solute uptake compared with the core. Accordingly, fluorescent-solute partitioning in SCLs provides information on gel structure and composition, in addition to quantifying uptake and release amounts and rates.

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