In situ formation of hydrogels as vitreous substitutes: Viscoelastic comparison to porcine vitreous

Katelyn E. Swindle, Paul D. Hamilton, Nathan Ravi

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The human vitreous is a gelatinous substance predominantly composed of water (97-99%). Vitreous substitutes are needed for treatment of retinal detachments by reapproximating the retina to the back of the eye, or during vitrectomies for maintenance of ocular volume. None of the current substitutes can be used long-term due to their short retention time, toxicity, or complications such as glaucoma or cataracts. In addition, all of the current compounds have a specific gravity less than water and so are not appropriate for inferior retinal detachments. The viscoelastic properties of the porcine vitreous were analyzed to develop a model for ideal substitutes. Synthetic polymers that form hydrogels in situ were researched for the development of artificial vitreous. In this study, the physical, mechanical, and optical properties of four self-gelling polyacrylamide copolymeric hydrogels were determined and compared with those of the porcine vitreous. The 2% formulation of high crosslink density, hydrophobically modified hydrogel most closely mimicked the porcine vitreous. The viscoelastic properties of hydrogels capable of being formed in situ were compared to those of the porcine vitreous to determine their efficacy as vitreous substitutes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)656-665
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part A
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008


  • In situ hydrogel
  • Polyacrylamide
  • Rheology
  • Viscoelasticity
  • Vitreous substitute


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