Amphiphilic silicones to mitigate lens epithelial cell growth on intraocular lenses†
Silicone intraocular lenses (IOLs) that resist lens epithelial cell (LEC) growth would greatly improve patient outcomes. Herein, amphiphilic surface modifying additives (SMAs) were incorporated into an IOL-type diphenyl silicone to reduce LEC growth without compromising opto-mechanical properties. The SMAs were poly(ethylene oxide)-silane amphiphiles (PEO-SAs) [H-Si-ODMSm-block-PEO8-OCH3], comprised of a PEO segment and siloxane tether of varying lengths (m = 0, 13, and 30). These three SMAs were each blended into the addition cure diphenyl silicone at varying concentrations (5, 10, 15, 20, and 25 μmol g−1) wherein the wt% of PEO was maintained for all SMAs at a given molar concentration. The chemical crosslinking and subsequent retention of SMAs in modified silicones was confirmed. Key material properties were assessed following equilibration in both air and aqueous environments. Silicones modified with SMAs having longer tethers (m = 13 and 30) underwent rapid and substantial water-driven restructuring of PEO to the surface to form highly hydrophilic surfaces, especially as SMA concentration increased. The % transmittance was also maintained for silicones modified with these particular SMAs. The moduli of the modified silicones were largely unchanged by the SMA and remained in the typical range for silicone IOLs. When the three SMAs were introduced at the highest concentration, modified silicones remained non-cytotoxic and LEC count and associated alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression decreased with increasing tether length. These results demonstrate the potential of silicones modified with PEO-SA SMAs to produce LEC-resistant IOLs.