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Chau-Minh Phan, Han Qiao, Ram Shinde, Lyndon William Jones; Development of an eye model with polyvinyl alcohol. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2019;60(9):6326.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The purpose of this study was to develop a simple method to synthesize an in vitro eye model using polyvinyl alcohol with similar wettability and water content as the cornea, sclera, and lens.
Bovine eyes, donated by an abattoir, were used as the ex vivo eye model for comparison. The eyes were dissected fresh, and the wettability and water content for the cornea, sclera, lens, and vitreous humour were measured. Four molecular weights of polyvinyl alcohol, 89-98 kDa, 85-124 kDa, 130 kDa, and 146-186 kDa, were tested. The monomer was added to a mixed solvent of dimethyl sulfoxide and Milli-Q water to achieve a range of concentrations between 5 – 30 % w/v. The mixture was heated at 120oC for 3 hours, and polymerized at -30o C for 3 hours. The gels were then equilibrated with Milli-Q water for 3 days before characterization. A model eyeball from polyvinyl alcohol was also synthesized using a custom mould.
The bovine cornea had the highest wettability, with the lowest advancing contact angle (28.0 ± 7.2°), followed by the lens (64.0 ± 4.6°) and sclera (56.73 ± 6.5°). The contact angles for the polyvinyl alcohol gels ranged between 40.4 ± 2.5° and 61.6 ± 4.7° for various gels. The vitreous humour had the highest water content (98.7 ± 0.2 %), followed by the cornea (80.9 ± 1.2%), sclera (64.8 ± 0.7%), and lens (59.7 ± 7.5%). The water content for the gels decreased with increasing concentrations of the polyvinyl alcohol (p<0.001), and ranged between 66.1 ± 0.1 % to 91.4 ± 0.2 %. The eye models made from polyvinyl alcohol were translucent, smooth, wettable, lubricous, and pliable.
This study presents a simple method to synthesize hydrogels from polyvinyl alcohol, which can be formulated to closely match the wettability and water content of a bovine cornea, sclera, and lens. The method can be easily modified in future studies to incorporate other reagents. The eye model synthesized from this study could be used as a potential model to study in vitro tear-break up or drug absorption.
This abstract was presented at the 2019 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Vancouver, Canada, April 28 - May 2, 2019.
Model eyeball synthesized from polyvinyl alcohol.
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