Soft contact lenses are the most widely prescribed form of contact lens around the world. These lenses are termed ‘soft’ since they are made from water-swollen, cross-linked, hydrophilic polymers (hydrogels). A relatively recent addition to the contact lens market is that of lenses fabricated from silicone hydrogel materials. These were developed to improve the oxygen delivery to the ocular surface, particularly during overnight wear. Whilst a number of contact lens related adverse events appear to have been reduced or eliminated with the introduction of this new family of materials, their introduction has brought along its own, new set of complications principally related to the mechanical characteristics of these materials and the wettability of these inherently hydrophobic surfaces. Additionally, epidemiological evidence now suggests that the incidence of severe corneal inflammatory events or microbial keratitis (MK) is similar for both the new silicone hydrogel materials and conventional hydrogel materials.
Carole Maldonado-Codina’s research focuses on continuing to understand the interaction of contact lenses and the ocular surface as well as on the characterisation of contact lens materials with the aim of improving the biocompatibility of future materials.