Mechanical Properties of Contact Lens Materials

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Objectives:To evaluate the mechanical properties of commonly available soft contact lens materials and compare results using custom-built MicroTensometer.Methods:The Young modulus, parameters for stress relaxation, and toughness of 18 types of single vision soft contact lenses were measured using custom-built MicroTensometer. Five lenses of each type were soaked in standard phosphate buffered saline and measured at a temperature of 35°C. Each lens was flattened and sliced into a rectangular strip sample using two parallel blades.Results:The Acuvue Moist 1-Day and SofLens Daily lenses measured lowest moduli, whereas Air Optix Night & Day Aqua and Premio measured the highest. The measured moduli for silicone hydrogel materials were generally higher compared with the hydrogels except for Dailies AquaComfort Plus. The exponential curve fitted over the decay in stress showed a consistent time constant of approximately 10 sec for most lens types measured. However, the amplitude constant varied from 2.84% for SofLens Daily to 22.39% for Acuvue TruEye 1-Day. The toughness results showed that Dailies AquaComfort Plus is strong but not necessarily tough.Conclusions:The mechanical properties of commonly prescribed soft contact lens materials were measured using a dedicated instrument. Its reliability was demonstrated, and modulus results were compared against published data from manufacturers and other research groups. Agreement was generally good, with only a few exceptions exceeding 15% difference. The more recently released silicone hydrogel lens types have reduced modulus, approaching that of medium or high water content hydrogel materials.

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