Modification of the surface properties of a lens material to influence posterior capsular opacification

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To study the effect of surface properties of materials on cellular behaviour and the formation of posterior capsular opacification (PCO).


Polymethylmethacrylate, silicone and a hydrophobic acrylic were plasma treated and used in tissue culture. The changes in surface properties were quantified by dynamic contact angle measurements. Bovine lens epithelial cells (BLECs) were seeded onto these materials and cultured for 1 month. Serial photographs were taken. The cells were then fixed and stained to facilitate counting.


Plasma treatment significantly increased the hydrophilicity of surfaces. BLECs grew on all surfaces but significantly more cells adhered to the treated than the untreated surfaces. On the untreated surfaces the BLECs had a fibroblastic morphology whereas on the treated surfaces the cells maintained their epithelial morphology.


Posterior capsular opacification is a form of wound healing and the behaviour of lens epithelial cells is central to its progression. Emphasis has been on the elimination of residual lens epithelial cells to combat PCO. This study demonstrated that the phenotype of BLECs was influenced by the surface properties of the intraocular lens materials. Gas plasma treatment of the materials increased their hydrophilicity and allowed the adhered BLECs to maintain their normal epithelial morphology. We believe that controlled growth of lens epithelial cells may reduce the incidence of PCO.

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