A study of water binding, mobility and dehydration in contact lens hydrogels using NMR

McConville, Patrick James (2000) A study of water binding, mobility and dehydration in contact lens hydrogels using NMR. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Hydrogel polymers are used for the manufacture of soft (or disposable) contact lenses worldwide today, but have a tendency to dehydrate on the eye. In vitro methods that can probe the potential for a given hydrogel polymer to dehydrate in vivo are much sought after. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) has been shown to be effective in characterising water mobility and binding in similar systems (Barbieri, Quaglia et al., 1998, Larsen, Huff et al., 1990, Peschier, Bouwstra et al., 1993), predominantly through measurement of the spin-lattice relaxation time (T1), the spinspin relaxation time (T2) and the water diffusion coefficient (D). The aim of this work was to use NMR to quantify the molecular behaviour of water in a series of commercially available contact lens hydrogels, and relate these measurements to the binding and mobility of the water, and ultimately the potential for the hydrogel to dehydrate. As a preliminary study, in vitro evaporation rates were measured for a set of commercial contact lens hydrogels. Following this, comprehensive measurement of the temperature and water content dependencies of T1, T2 and D was performed for a series of commercial hydrogels that spanned the spectrum of equilibrium water content (EWC) and common compositions of contact lenses that are manufactured today. To quantify material differences, the data were then modelled based on theory that had been used for similar systems in the literature (Walker, Balmer et al., 1989, Hills, Takacs et al., 1989). The differences were related to differences in water binding and mobility. The evaporative results suggested that the EWC of the material was important in determining a material's potential to dehydrate in this way. Similarly, the NMR water self-diffusion coefficient was also found to be largely (if not wholly) determined by the WC. A specific binding model confirmed that the we was the dominant factor in determining the diffusive behaviour, but also suggested that subtle differences existed between the materials used, based on their equilibrium we (EWC). However, an alternative modified free volume model suggested that only the current water content of the material was important in determining the diffusive behaviour, and not the equilibrium water content. It was shown that T2 relaxation was dominated by chemical exchange between water and exchangeable polymer protons for materials that contained exchangeable polymer protons. The data was analysed using a proton exchange model, and the results were again reasonably correlated with EWC. Specifically, it was found that the average water mobility increased with increasing EWe approaching that of free water. The T1 relaxation was also shown to be reasonably well described by the same model. The main conclusion that can be drawn from this work is that the hydrogel EWe is an important parameter, which largely determines the behaviour of water in the gel. Higher EWe results in a hydrogel with water that behaves more like bulk water on average, or is less strongly 'bound' on average, compared with a lower EWe material. Based on the set of materials used, significant differences due to composition (for materials of the same or similar water content) could not be found. Similar studies could be used in the future to highlight hydrogels that deviate significantly from this 'average' behaviour, and may therefore have the least/greatest potential to dehydrate on the eye.

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ID Code: 37049
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD)
Supervisor: Pope, James M.
Additional Information: Presented to the Centre for Medical and Health Physics, Queensland University of Technology.
Keywords: Polymer colloids Permeability, Nuclear magnetic resonance, Soft contact lenses, hydrogel, polymer, contact lens, water, water binding, water mobility, dehydration, NMR, magnetic resonance, T1, T2, relaxation, diffusion, chemical exchange, evaporation, desorption, thesis, doctoral
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright Patrick James McConville
Deposited On: 22 Sep 2010 13:06
Last Modified: 17 Dec 2015 04:28

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