Synthetic Polymeric Materials for Ocular Applications


Available for Licensing

IP Status

US Utility Patent: US 10167387
US Utility Patent: US 10626267


Susan James
Travis Bailey
Ketul Popat
David Prawel
Jackson Lewis
Richard Koch

At A Glance

Researchers at CSU have incorporated hyaluronan into a silicone polymer for use in ocular applications (such as contact lenses).  The novel mechanism of manufacture developed here marks a substantial improvement to currently available contact lenses, and has the potential to usher in the “next frontier” in lens manufacture.

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Licensing Director

Steve Foster

Reference No.: 14-015


It is estimated that there are over 30 million contact lens wearers in the United States.  In addition to vision correction, a contact lens should:

  • Maintain stable, continuous tear film for clear vision
  • Resist deposition of tear film components
  • Sustain normal hydration
  • Permeable to oxygen enabling corneal metabolism
  • Permeable to ions to maintain movement
  • Non-irritating and comfortable
    • Neither hydrophobic nor lipophilic

The current state-of-the-art enables high-volume, low-cost production of corrective lenses.  These often Siloxane-containing hydrogels, have addressed need for Oxygen transmission, critical as the cornea is avascular.  While effective, there are common complaints from contact lens wearers, including lens deposits and resulting eye inflammation.

Technology Overview

Researchers at CSU have developed a bio-polymer incorporating hyaluronan into a silicone polymer for use in ocular applications. Silicone increases oxygen permeability and mechanical properties. This enables non-vascularized cornea to obtain oxygen. The incorporation of the hyalruonan increases lubricity and wettability, reduces foreign body response while maintaining a preocular tear film, and the hydrophilic capacity of the lens enhances spread of mucin to cornea.


Importantly, these researchers demonstrate the ability to:
  • Manufacture block copolymers consisting of silicone blocks and polyethylene oxide blocks as well as those block polymers modified with hyaluronic acid
  • Control shape and composition of block copolymer
  • Improve the manufacturing process, resulting in more durable HA content when compared to surface modification and cross-linking techniques
The effectiveness of these ophthalmic lenses have been evaluated in regards to hydrophobicity and optical transparency, the protein absorbtion, and monocyte adhesion to demonstrate these new lenses as suitable for ophthalmic application.
Silicone provides excellent oxygen permeability and mechanical properties.

The incorporation of the hyalruonan:
  • Increases lubricity and wettability;
  • Reduces foreign body response while maintaining a preocular tear film;
  • Increases the hydrophilicity of the lens surface to enhance spreading of mucin to cornea;
  • Imparts antimicrobial properties to the silicone

It is anticipated that the characteristics of these hyaluronan enhanced silicones may also improve intraocular lens technology.

Hydrophilicity, optical transparency, protein absorption and monocyte adhesion data demonstrate the promise of these new materials for ophthalmic applications.


Koch, R.L. (2016) Improving Hydrophilicity of Silicone Elastomer by IPN Formation with Hyaluronan. Masters Thesis CSU

Last updated: July 2021

Sue James, Susan P. James, Susan James