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High Refractive Index Inorganic–Organic Interpenetrating Polymer Network (IPN) Hydrogel Nanocomposite toward Artificial Cornea Implants

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journal contribution
posted on 20.02.2016, 17:07 by Quanyuan Zhang, Zheng Fang, Ye Cao, Huamao Du, Hong Wu, Roger Beuerman, Mary B. Chan-Park, Hongwei Duan, Rong Xu
The use of artificial cornea implants has received increasing attention for treating cornea-related diseases and vision errors due to the low side effects. To achieve long-term successful vision correction, stable and biocompatible materials of high refractive index (RI) need to be developed. Herein, we developed an interpenetrating polymer network (IPN) hydrogel containing well-dispersed ZnS nanoparticles (∼3 nm) covalently linked to the first polymer network, poly­(2-hydroethyl methacrylate) (PHEMA). The second polymer network used was poly­(acrylic acid) (PAA). The resultant ZnS/PHEMA/PAA IPN nanocomposite is clear and transparent at both dry and hydrated states with their RIs measured to be as high as 1.65 and 1.49, respectively. The equilibrium water content of the hydrogel nanocomposite reached 60.2% which is reasonably near to that of cornea. The material exerted minimal cytotoxicity toward primary epidermal keratinocyte cells. The high RI IPN hydrogel nanocomposite developed here might be an excellent candidate for artificial cornea implants.

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