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Soft contact lens (SCL) biomaterials originated from the discovery of a poly(2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate) (poly[HEMA])-based hydrogel in 1960. Incorporation of hydrophilic polymers into poly(HEMA) hydrogels was performed in the 1970–1980s, which brought an increase in the equilibrium water content, leading to an enhancement of the oxygen permeability. Nowadays, the poly(HEMA)-based hydrogels have been applied in disposable SCL. At the same time, high oxygen-permeable silicone hydrogels were produced, which made it possible to continually wear SCL. Recently, numerous trials for improving the water wettability of silicone hydrogels have been performed. However, little attention has been paid to improving their antibiofouling properties and biocompatibility. Since biomimetic phospholipid polymers possess excellent antibiofouling properties and biocompatibility they have the potential to play a valuable role in the surface modification of the silicone hydrogel. The representative phospholipid polymers containing a 2-methacryloyloxyethyl phosphorylcholine (MPC) unit suppressed nonspecific protein adsorption, increased cell compatibility and contributed to blood compatible biomaterials. The MPC polymer coating on the silicone hydrogel improved its water wettability and biocompatibility, while maintaining high oxygen permeability compared with the original silicone hydrogel. Furthermore, the newly prepared phospholipid-type intermolecular crosslinker made it possible to synthesize a 100% phospholipid polymer hydrogel that can enhance the antibiofouling properties and biocompatibility. In this review, the authors discuss how polymer hydrogels should be designed in order to obtain a biocompatible SCL and future perspectives.

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This page is a summary of: Soft contact lens biomaterials from bioinspired phospholipid polymers, Expert Review of Medical Devices, March 2006, Taylor & Francis,
DOI: 10.1586/17434440.3.2.167.
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