This project is concerned with the development of new ophthalmic biomaterials. In the developed economies of Europe, an aging population and the need for optimal vision for all mean that new and more effective cures and correction for myopia and presbyopia are required; extended-wear contact lenses, together with corneal inlays and onlays have a significant part to play here. There is a unsatisfied need for an implantable keratoprosthesis. This project is concerned with the developmant of bioceramic semi-synthetic analogues of the current osteo-odonto-keratophosthesis (OOKP). The five objectives of this project are:1) To compare in vitro techniques for the prediction of resorption of candidate porous inorganic materials to be used as non-autologous substitutes for the dental lamina in OOKP surgery.2) To examine the feasibility of producing titania and silica coatings on (e.g.) Biocoral and Osteopore using the techniques developed in Finland and monitoring their resorption and controlled release. 3) To carry out in vitro biological evaluation of candidate materials for OOKP construction. 4) To prepare silicone hydrogel membranes and contact lenses containing hydrophobic ophthalmic drugs (and representative model compounds) in silicone-rich domains. 5) To study the release profiles of drugs and model compounds from silicone hydrogels prepared in objective (4) into various media representative of the ocular environment. The methods used to achieve the objectives are based on the research methods developed at the University of Aston (Birmingham, U.K.) combined with the researcher, Reeta Viitala (Finland), knowledge of sol-gel produced inorganic biomaterials and controlled drug release. This project will increase the researcher knowledge of ophthalmic biomaterials and would be beneficial for both partners. The researher will be able to use her learning experience in her future carrier at the academic level or in a biomaterial company in Finland.
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