Wettability and hydrophilicity of rigid and soft contact lens surfaces
In the last two decades an abundance of contact lens materials with unknown surface properties have been introduced as well as new contact lens design. Recent studies have identified the importance of physical and chemical interactions between materials and liquids. The purpose of this experimental research work was to investigate the relationship between a contact lens surface and a liquid. The wettability and hydrophilicity of both soft and rigid contact lens surfaces were determined using two novel techniques and an established method. The two novel techniques were the un-separated adherent quid/laser method and the adherent liquid/ maximum force method whereas the established technique involved monitoring the receding wetting angle and interface are a diameter of a sessile drop. Contact lens surface preparation and the method of removing a liquid from hydrated surfaces were found to be important variables when determining wettability or hydrophilicity. Experiments showed that the use of surface tension to remove liquid from hydrated surfaces significantly improved the reproducibility of subsequent measurements. Variation of the sessile drop wetting angle and interface area diameter with evaporation time demonstrated different values for different contact lenses. The clinical consequence of monitoring the receding values would be; if a material to spread tear break up time occurs the dry patches will be advanced on PMMA, rather than Paraperm contact lens. Surface hydrophilicity, if defined in terms of the maximum adherent force, describes the ability of a lens surface to attract a liquid, whereas wettability may be defined as the ability of a liquid to spread on a contact lens surface. The wettability and hydrophilicity, therefore, are two different issues. When a wetting angle is 01, or close to 0" the surface is described as wettable. Results demonstrated that Equalens had a greater surface wettability and hydrophilicity than the PMMA for pre-wear, but the post-wear hydrophilicity for PMMA was greater than Equalens. The use of each measurement method, therefore, resulted in a value that is intrinsically related to measurement method and definition. The clinical consequenceo f the valuesi s to help practitioners prescribea lens material either on wettability or hydrophilicity values. In contact lens practice, a lens surface is required to maintain a stable tear film and produce a long tear film break up time. A combination of hydrophilicty and wetting angle values can help to determine the requirement of wettability and hydrophilicity in the contact lens industry and also in practice. It can be concluded that no single test can fully describe the surface properties of contact lens surface materials, but it is proposed that information and results from a series of tests provides the most useful clinical description.