Melatonin-Eluting Contact Lenses Effect on Tear Volume: In Vitro and In Vivo Experiments

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Background: The purpose of this study was to synthesize melatonin-eluting contact lenses (CLs) and evaluate both the ocular kinetics of the released melatonin and its effect on tear volume and intraocular pressure. Methods: In vitro, melatonin-eluting CLs were synthesized by using non-functionalized (HEMA) and functionalized (HEMA/APMA) monomers. In vivo, a short-term prospective and randomized study was performed on 15 rabbits divided into two groups: 12 rabbits wearing functionalized CLs and 3 rabbits without CLs as a control. The melatonin levels in tears, aqueous humor, vitreous body and retina, tear volume, and intraocular pressure were measured for 8 h. Results: In vitro, both monomers did not show differences in terms of melatonin loading and release (p ≥ 0.05). In vivo, the melatonin concentration was elevated in tears and aqueous humor after 2 and 4 h of wearing CLs, respectively (p < 0.05). Additionally, the CLs increased tear volume for 2 h (p < 0.05). Conclusions: The melatonin-eluting CLs released their content over the ocular surface for at least 2 h, which was associated with a secretagogue effect on tear volume. However, the increased amount of melatonin found in the aqueous humor had no effect on intraocular pressure.
This study was published in memory of Jesus Pintor, who passed away on 2 April 2019