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ISSN : 1225-0562(Print)
ISSN : 2287-7258(Online)
Korean Journal of Materials Research Vol.28 No.12 pp.696-701
DOI : https://doi.org/10.3740/MRSK.2018.28.12.696

Comparative Study of Polymerization Environment for Hydrogel Ophthalmic Lens

Duck-Hyun Kim,A-Young Sung
Department of Optometry & Vision Science, Catholic University of Daegu, Gyeoungsan, Gyeoungbuk 38430, Republic of Korea
Corresponding author
E-Mail : say123sg@hanmail.net (A. Y Sung, Catholic Univ. of Daegu)
July 11, 2018 September 3, 2018 December 4, 2018

Abstract


This study is carried out to evaluate the commercial feasibility of the room temperature and thermal polymerization method as a lens manufacturing method. All samples are found to be transparent after polymerization, thereby indicating that their physical and surface properties are suitable for hydrogel ophthalmic lenses. The optical and physical properties of the lenses are compared. The water content of the samples that are prepared via a room temperature polymerization process decreases with the addition of MMA as compared to the water content of the samples that are prepared via thermal polymerization. When MMA and DMA are used as an additive for improving functionality, the wettability of the lenses increases. By measuring the AFM, the surface roughness is shown to improve more than MMA and DMA. Therefore, it is judged to be an appropriate process for manufacturing hydrogel lenses with high functionality.



초록


    © Materials Research Society of Korea. All rights reserved.

    This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

    1. Introduction

    The number of patients wearing ophthalmic hydrogel lenses has been increasing as of late.1) Leonardo da Vinci has established a related theory on ophthalmic lenses,2) and the first scleral glass lens was developed by Adolf Gaston Eugen Fick, followed by the first plastic ophthalmic lenses developed in 1930 by William Feinbloom. In 1947, the study of lens curvature and corneal lenses, the most important attribute of ophthalmic lenses, was conducted by Kevin Tuohy.3-5) In 1963, PHEMA, which is still used mainly as a hydrogel eye lens for medical use, was developed by Otto Wichterle6) and mass produced by spin casting method.7) The color formation methods of hydrogel ophthalmic lens are currently being studied from various perspectives.8)

    Ophthalmic hydrogel lenses are also important for their biocompatibility and optical properties because they come in contact with the corneal surface of human eyes. In the wake of the recent increase in the number of ophthalmic lens wearers, hydrogel lenses that are designed to come in contact with human eyes are causing a variety of ophthalmic problems.10-14) In order to overcome these adverse effects, a variety of studies are being conducted on the antibacterial properties, high wettability, and high oxygen permeability of ophthalmic lenses.15-20) These studies mostly use thermal polymerization to fabricate lenses. The manufacturing method includes lathe cutting method, spin casting method, and mold casting method. The mold casting method is suitable for mass production and it is used mainly in practice. In addition, the mold casting method requires energy, such as ultraviolet ray and heat, to initiate thermal polymerization or ultraviolet polymerization process after injecting the sample in the space between the molds.21-26)

    In this study, hydrogel lenses were fabricated via thermal-polymerization and room-temperature polymerization by using the mold casting method, respectively, before the physical properties of the fabricated lenses were compared. N, N-Dimethyl acrylamide and methyl methacrylate were used as additives in order to impart the functionality to the hydrogel lens. N, N-Dimethyl acrylamide is a hydrogel lens material that demonstrates high water content when used as an additive, which is an important property that makes it a useful hydrogel material due to its high oxygen permeability. In addition, the lens fabricated by using methyl methacrylate as an additive is widely known as a biocompatible material that exhibits a high light transmittance.27-29)

    In this experiment, the physical properties and surface condition of the hydrogel lens, which were prepared by room temperature polymerization and thermal polymerization methods after adding N, N-Dimethyl acrylamide and methyl methacrylate as additives according to their respective ratio, were measured in order to assess the possibility of using them as a hydrogel lens.

    2. Experimental

    2.1 Reagents and Materials

    2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate(HEMA), which is used mainly as the hydrogel ophthalmic lens material, and azobisisobutyronitrile(AIBN) as the thermal initiator, both of which were produced by JUNSEI, were used, whereas ammonium persulfate(APS) as the initiator for roomtemperature polymerization, ethylene glycol dimethacrylate (EGDMA) as a crosslinking agent, N,N-Dimethyl acrylamide( DMA) and methyl methacrylate as additives, were all manufactured by SIGMA-ALDRICH.

    2.2 Experimental Method

    2.2.1 Polymerization

    This study was carried out in order to evaluate the commercial feasibility of the polymerization method at room temperature and the thermal polymerization as a lens manufacturing method. In the room temperature polymerization method, HEMA, which is used mainly as a hydrogel lens material, was used as the main material. In addition, APS as a initiator, and EGEMA as a crosslinking agent were also used as basic combinations with MMA and DMA, which are both additives, added to the mix at ratios of 1 % to 10 %. For the thermal polymerization, HEMA, which is used mainly as a hydrogel lens material, was used as the main material, while AIBN was added as a thermal initiator, and EGDMA as a crosslinking agent with MMA and DMA added to the mix at ratios of 1 % to 10 %. As a method of preparing the mixture, HEMA, EGDMA, and DTAB(surfactant) were added in proportions at room temperature, and stirred for approximately 3 hours by using a stirrer(Vortex GENIE 2, Scientific Industries, USA). The additives were added in proportions and then stirred for approximately 3 hours. For the thermal polymerization, HEMA, EGDMA, AIBN, and the additives were added to the mix in proportions, followed by stirring the mixture for approximately 6 hours by using a stirrer. Furthermore, the mixture was thermally polymerized at 100 °C for 1 hour. The hydrogel samples were hydrated in a sterilized physiological saline solution for 24 hours before being evaluated for their physical and optical properties, such as refractive index, light transmittance, and water content. Atomic force microscope(AFM) and contact angle were measured in order to evaluate their surface area characteristics.

    2.2.2 Analysis and evaluation of properties

    Assuming RT as an experimental group in which the additives were not added among the samples copolymerized by the room temperature polymerization process, the RT samples to which MMA was added in proportions were each named RT-M_1, RT-M_2, and RT-M_3, whereas the samples to which DMA was added were each named RT-D_1, RT-D_2, and RT-D_3, respectively. Assuming TH as an experimental group, to which additives were not added after the thermal polymerization, the TH samples, to which DMA was added in proportions, were each named TH-D_1, TH-D_2 and THD_ 3, whereas the samples, to which MMA was added in proportions, were each names TH-M_1, TH-M_2 and TH-M_3, respectively. The polymerization method and mixing ratio of the hydrogel sample used in the experiment are shown in Table 1, respectively.

    2.3 Measuring Instruments and Analysis

    All of the hydrogel samples used in the experiments were hydrated at room temperature for 24 hours before sterilization with a physiological saline to achieve equilibration. The refractive index of the lens was measured by using an ABBE Refractometer(ATAGO NAR 1T, Japan). The water content was measured by using the specifications of ISO 18369-4: 2006, Ophthalmic optics-Contact lenses-Part 4. Meanwhile, the contact angle was measured for the wettability assessment of the lenses via sessile drop method by using the Contact Angle Instrument (Kruss GmbH, DSA30). In addition, the surface of the lens was evaluated for the surface analysis by using the AFM of Park Systems.

    3. Results and Discussion

    3.1 Polymerization and Manufacturing

    The samples that were fabricated through the hydrothermal treatment at room temperature were hydrated for 24 hours before a clear hydrogel lens was obtained. The sample condition of each combination is shown in Fig. 1.

    3.2 Physical properties

    In regard to the refractive indices of the hydrogel samples that were prepared through the room temperature polymerization process, the RT of the Ref. combination was measured at 1.4395, but it was 1.4421 to 1.4574 when the MMA was added to the RT in proportions, and 1.4292 to 1.4388 when the DMA was added in proportions. In regard to the water content of each sample, the RT of the Ref. combination, to which no additive was added, was measured at 36.42 %, but it was 30.12 % to 34.31 % when MMA was added to the sample in proportions, and 37.84 % to 47.28 % when DMA was added in proportions. In regard to the refractive indices of the hydrogel samples that were prepared through the thermal polymerization process, the TH of the Ref. combination was measured at 1.4428, but it was 1.4436 to 1.4511 when MMA was added to the TH in proportions and 1.4356 to 1.4427 when the DMA was added in proportions. In regard to the water content of each sample, the TH of the Ref. combination to which no additive was added was measured at 37.32 %, but it was 31.23 % to 32.40 % when MMA was added in proportions, and 37.72 % to 40.02 % when DMA was added in proportions. The water content decreased as the addition amount of MMA increased, whereas the refractive index had the tendency to increase due to the decrease in optical density. In addition, the water content increased as the addition amount of DMA increased, whereas the refractive index had the tendency to decrease. This result is inversely proportional to the change in the water content of the hydrogel material. The results are similar to those of the previous studies.30) In comparison with the samples that were prepared through the thermal treatment at room temperature, the addition of DMA had the tendency to further increase the water content, thereby indicating that the synergistic effect was achieved with the additives that were used in the polymerization process. The results of the thermal and room temperature polymerization processes are shown in Table 2.

    3.3 Surface Properties

    The contact angle was measured in order to assess the wettability of the hydrogel samples that were prepared by room temperature polymerization. The results showed that the RT of the Ref. combination was measured at 71.47°, but it was 48.09° to 71.1° when MMA was added to the RT in proportions, and 64.04° to 67.98° when DMA was added in proportions. In the surface roughness assessment by using the AFM, the RT of the Ref. combination was measured at 1.8 nm, while it was 0.896 nm in the case of RT-M_3, to which MMA was added at the ratio of 10 % and 1.395 nm in the case of RT_D-3, to which DMA was added at the ratio of approximately 10 %. When the contact angles of the hydrogel samples that were prepared via thermal polymerization were measured, it was 73.99 % for the TH of the Ref. combination, 57.09 % to 63.83 % when MMA was added in proportions, and 65.96 % to 73.87 % when DMA was added in proportions. In addition, the AFM analysis shows that the TH of the Ref. combination was measured at 5.058 nm, while it was 2.958 nm for the TH_M-3, to which MMA was added at the ratio of 10 % and 4.434 nm for the TH_D-3, to which DMA was added at the ratio of 10 %. In the case of general hydrogel lenses, the wettability has the tendency to increase when the water content is high.30) In this study, the addition of MMA had the tendency to increase the wettability in spite of the decrease in water content. The result of the surface measurement by arithmetic mean roughness of AFM showed that the surface roughness was lower when MMA was added than when DMA was added, thereby prompting us to conclude that the wettability has the tendency to increase even if the water content is low due to the surface roughness. The comparison between the thermal polymerization process and the room temperature polymerization process shows that the arithmetic average roughness by AFM analysis has the tendency to become lower in all combinations in the polymerization at room temperature, thereby suggesting that the wettability has the tendency to increase in polymerization at room temperature, as compared to the thermal polymerization process. These results also showed the similar tendency that the polymerization temperature condition showed different surface characteristics as that in the study of kim et al.31) The comparisons between the thermal polymerization and room temperature polymerization were shown in Tables 3~4, and Figs. 2~3, respectively.

    4. Conclusion

    Thermal and room temperature polymerization were carried out in this study by using initiators and catalysts, followed by an analysis of the physical properties and surface characteristics of all the samples. All samples were found to be transparent after polymerization, thereby indicating that their physical and surface properties can be considered suitable for hydrogel eye optical lenses. The water content of the samples that were prepared by room temperature polymerization process decreased with the addition of MMA, as compared to the water content of the samples that were prepared by thermal polymerization. In the case of room temperature polymerization, to which DMA was added, the water content increased, as compared to the samples that were fabricated by thermal polymerization, while the arithmetic mean roughness of AFM decreased and the wettability increased, thereby suggesting that the effect of the additives were maximized in the room temperature polymerization process. Therefore, it is judged to be an appropriate process for manufacturing hydrogel lenses with high functionality.

    Figure

    MRSK-28-696_F1.gif

    Ophthalmic lens of produced sample(A: RT group, B: TH group).

    MRSK-28-696_F2.gif

    AFM image and contact angle of samples(A: RT, B: RT-M_3, C: RT-D_3).

    MRSK-28-696_F3.gif

    AFM image and contact angle of samples(A: TH, B: TH-M_3, C: TH-D_3).

    Table

    Percent composition of samples(Unit: wt%).

    Water content and refractive index of samples.

    Contact angle of smaples. Unit(°)

    Arithmetical average roughness of samples by AFM analysis. Unit(nm)

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