Dr. George L.

Grobe III


Contact Lens and Lens Care Technology

Maximizing contact lens comfort is based many times upon reducing patient proprioception of this medical device while it is on the eye. Contact lens comfort, as rated by the patient, is related to series of complex attributes of the contact lens: corrected vision, physical contact lens dimensions, polymer stiffness, water content of the hydrogel, polymer chemistry, polymer dehydration resistance, and surface chemistry \ surface wettability. If the contact lens cannot be felt in one’s eye, it is perceived by the patient as highly comfortable. It is desirable that a contact lens be as comfortable as possible for wearers while maintaining the vision correcting optics patients expect with a modern contact lens. Manufacturers of contact lenses are continually working to improve the comfort of the lenses.

Nevertheless, many people who wear contact lenses still experience dryness or eye irritation throughout the day and particularly towards the end of the day. Contact lens associated dry eye (CLADE) is defined as an exasperation of dry eye symptoms by the presence of a contact lens in an existing dry eye patient. Further, contact lenses have been known to induce the symptoms of dry eye (CLIDE; Contact Lens Induced Dry Eye) by their very presence in the eye. Contact lenses can cause these symptoms as the result of dehydration of the tear film, leading to reduced tear film volume \ thickness, causing increased friction between the contact lens and corneal tissue.

Contact lens and lens care chemistry plays a direct role in the reduction or heightening of CLIDE and CLADE symptoms. Hydrogels and silicone hydrogel polymer chemistries have differing abilities to retain moisture. Hydrogels and silicone hydrogels lose water from the lens, that typically increases with dehydrative environments and length of wear. Thus, polymer chemistries that retain moisture in these hydrogels are desirable. Further, as patients use more digital devices (phones, pads, computers) there is a tendency to blink less. These patients typically see a 66% reduction in blink rates associated with the use of digital devices. Longer open eye times, because of reduced blink rate, can increase contact lens hydrogel dehydration. The extent of the contact lens dehydration will depend on the chemical composition of the contact lens.

Contact lens hydrogel polymeric technology, specifically polymeric surface technology that reduce the loss of water from the polymer can increase clinical end of the day patient rated comfort. In addition, the benefits of these polymer chemistries increase visual acuity and patient visual quality by maintaining the contact lens optimal optics through the retention of hydrogel water. Further, the polymer maintains it physical design by maintaining its water content. Thus, the physical design of the lens is maximized towards comfort with time.

Patients have noted increased contact lens comfort associated with the use of products that contain hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid (HA) retains approximately 1000x its weight in water. The use of contact lens care products containing HA can reduce friction of the contact lens corneal surface. This is a way to increase patient clinical comfort over the use of products which do not contain HA. In addition, patients have noted the ability to “hold their eye open longer” due to increased tear film stability.

The increased use of daily disposable contact lenses by practitioners due to their ease of use, pushes the need for more polymeric technology to answer many of these patient clinical needs. In addition, the use of natural molecules or their chemical analogues will play larger roles in daily disposable packaging solutions composition as well. Maximizing patient comfort to support comfortable vision correction, with the use molecular chemistry to support corneal cell and tear film stability is thus a defined clinical need.

This talk will discuss the balance that has been struck in contact lens and contact lens care chemistry to maximize comfort while maintaining safety and efficacy that is so important for these medical products.

About Dr. Grobe III

George Grobe is a 30 year veteran in industrial biomedical engineering. George is currently vice president of research & development for vision care (contact lens and lens care) business at Bausch + Lomb. Bausch + Lomb is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bausch Health Companies. Prior to Bausch + Lomb, George was vice president of research at DePuy Orthopaedics in Warsaw Indiana, a division of Johnson and Johnson. His group introduced several novel products to the hip market during his five year tenure. Prior to DePuy George worked at Bausch + Lomb for 12 years holding several progressive roles within research and development.

George attended Stonehill College in North Easton Massachusetts and graduated in 1982 with a BS in Chemistry. He attended the University at Buffalo for graduate school. He received his MA in Chemistry in 1986 working for Dr. Joseph A. Gardella Jr. In 1989 George completed his PhD in Biophysics under Dr. Robert E Baier from the Roswell Park Memorial Institute division of the University at Buffalo. George’s research involved subperiosteal implants for the development of treatment options for patients requiring maxillofacial reconstruction. George has continued his affiliation with UB by serving as a member of the Industrial Advisory Board for the Department of Biomedical Engineering and as a past member of the Deans Advisory Council for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

George is a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), a member of the American Chemical Society, Materials Research Society, and Surfaces in Biomaterials. He has presented over 50 abstracts and posters at association meetings, and has numerous publications and patents to his credit. George also serves as a board member and finance committee member for the United Way of Greater Rochester.