Purpose. The majority of contact lens wearers experience a significant level of ocular discomfort associated with lens wear, often within hours of wear, related to dry lenses, inflammation, protein adhesion to the lens surface, etc. Application of controlled drug release techniques has focused on the incorporation and/or release of a single comfortmolecule from a lens including high molecular weight comfort agents or pharmaceutical agents. Previous studies have sought to mitigate the occurrence of only single propagators of discomfort. Clinical studies with eye drop solutions have shown that a mixture of diverse comfort agents selected to address multiple propagators of discomfort provide the greatest and longest lasting sensations of comfort for the patient. In this paper, multiple propagators of discomfort are addressed through the simultaneous release of four molecules from a novel contact lens to ensure high level of lens wear comfort. Methods. Silicone hydrogel contact lenses were engineered via molecular imprinting strategies to simultaneously release up to four template molecules including hydropropyl methylcellulose (HPMC), trehalose, ibuprofen, and prednisolone. Results. By adjusting the ratio of functional monomer to comfort molecule, a high level of control was demonstrated over the release rate. HPMC, trehalose, ibuprofen, and prednisolone were released at therapeutically relevant concentrations with varying rates from a single lens. Conclusions. The results indicate use as daily disposable lenses for single day release or extended-wear lenses with multiple day release. Imprinted lenses are expected to lead to higher efficacy for patients compared to topical eye drops by improving compliance and mitigating concentration peaks and valleys associated with multiple drops.
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