International Ophthalmology

, Volume 38, Issue 3, pp 1225–1233 | Cite as

Design and evaluation of artificial cornea with core–skirt design using polyhydroxyethyl methacrylate and graphite

  • Mukty Sinha
  • Tanvi Gupte
Original Paper



Artificial cornea is the effective treatment option for corneal blindness. One of the challenges with the artificial cornea is limited, or no tissue integration necessitates reimplantation due to necrosis or corneal melting. We propose here a new formulation approach for core–skirt incorporating graphite in the outer skirt region to improve cell adhesion.


Hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) and ethylene glycol dimethacrylate were procured from Sigma-Aldrich. Polyhydroxyethyl methacrylate (PHEMA) was synthesized by free radical polymerization of HEMA. PHEMA hydrogel core with graphite incorporated skirt was developed with the help of mould and spacer. Pores were introduced into the skirt by salt leaching technique using sodium chloride as porogen. The porous skirt was improved for its aesthetic appeal of black colour and mechanical strength to sustain intraocular pressure by incorporating graphite. The material properties of the newly developed design were evaluated in terms of wetting behaviour, mechanical strength, water vapour permeability, degradation profile and cell adhesion.


The polymerization of HEMA was confirmed by thin layer chromatography and FTIR. Water content of the polymeric film was optimized at 50% where maximum transparency with required refractive index of 1.4 was obtained. The concentration of salt vital for the essential porosity was also optimized using optical microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Other properties, namely mechanical strength, water vapour transmission rate and degradation behaviour, showed that the developed design is suitable for ocular applications. Furthermore, cell adhesion study confirmed tissue adhesion in the skirt region but absent in the core.


The core–skirt design may offer an efficient cornea replacement alternative with enhanced tissue integration in addition to desired mechanical behaviour with a clear and aesthetic vision.


Artificial cornea Keratoprosthesis Core–skirt design Graphite PHEMA 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10792_2017_586_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (23 kb)
Supplementary data: Texture analyser report for the needle force applied on the hydrogel. (JPG 23 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical DevicesNational Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research-AhmedabadPalaj, GandhinagarIndia

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