Evaluation of Pigment Distribution and Depth Analysis Methods for Decorative Soft Contact Lenses

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This study evaluates pigment component distribution and depth in decorative soft contact lenses (DSCLs) using a variety of analytical methods.


We sampled 18 DSCLs using optical microscopy, optical coherence tomography analysis, Z-stack analysis, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning electron microscopy/energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (SEM/EDX), and time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) to evaluate the distribution and depth of pigment components.


Pigment distribution in DSCLs was easily observed with optical methods including Z-stack analysis. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, SEM/EDX, and TOF-SIMS were used to evaluate the level of pigment exposure on the lens surface and the results showed significant differences between the methods. Pigment components were detected in 16 samples by SEM/EDX, but not by XPS. Pigment components were only detected in eight samples using TOF-SIMS.


It may be necessary to show that a nanometer-thick monomolecular film does not exist on the surface of DSCLs, to demonstrate the exposure of a pigment particle. Taking into account the principle behind each of the measurement methods and the resolution and sensitivity of each of the analytical methods compared, TOF-SIMS may be the most appropriate method to accurately judge pigment exposure on DSCLs. The Z-stack method may be useful for estimating the depth of pigment components in DSCLs.

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