Contact Lenses & Chemistry


Contact lenses are a modern technological breakthrough yet they have been in development for over 500 years. While the most important advances have come in the latter half of the 1900’s, this area of science is still undergoing tremendous growth. Chemical engineer’s are critical for the development and manufacturing of the contact lens of the future. This paper will attempt to give a brief overview of contact lenses. It will discuss the history, manufacturing, and science behind modern contact lenses. The paper will conclude by showing some of the tradeoffs of contact use, for no invention is without its drawbacks.

The purpose of engineering the contact lens to be soft and breathable is to make it comfortable for wearing. The PMMA contact lens is less common now because it is the most uncomfortable, but some people still choose to wear them because they cost less and are durable. Another set back is that oxygen can only get to the cornea when the hard lens moves. RGP’s, unlike soft lenses, can resist protein or bacterial deposit. Research and studies are still being done to reduce the friction between the cornea and the lens. Optical Polymer Research, Inc., a company that researches polymers can study the properties of different polymers in application to contact lenses. Physical properties that can be compared are the following: refractive index, oxygen permeability, diffusion constant, wetting angle, specific gravity, hardness, and water absorption %. The materials can be designed to last from 2-4 weeks or be disposable.(1) There is a lower chance of getting an infection with disposables but they are more expensive. There are pro’s and con’s to each type of lens material and therefore consumers can choose lenses that suit their needs.

Unlike external lenses such as glasses, commercial contact lenses like those made available at Cheap Contacts @ must be engineered to be comfortable to the cornea of the eye. Therefore, it is also very important to be able to control the hardness, elasticity, roughness, wettability, and biocompatibility of its material. Acuvue Define contact lenses are made from the same materials as regular (“spherical”) contact lenses, so they can be either soft or RGP. The difference is in the design of the lens.

There is belief that the future of contact lenses will move beyond that of a biochemical nature. Scientists at Ghent University have developed a tiny curved liquid crystal display (LCD) that can potentially be embedded inside a contact lens. Light emitting diodes (LED) have been integrated into contact lenses before (see flashbacks below), but an LCD screen can provide a higher resolution at small scales.

RIKEN Executive Director’s Visit To CCB

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 – Centre for Chemical Biology (CCB) welcomed the delegation from RIKEN, a leading research institute in Japan. The purpose of the visit is to discuss on collaboration initiatives and to develop a better understanding on the background of both institutes.

The delegation consists of 6 people including Mr. Teruo Furuya, Executive Director of RIKEN Japan, Mr. Kenichiro Kakihara, Director of RIKEN Singapore Office, Mr. Hiroyuki Arita, Ms. Junko Suzuki, Mr. Kazuhisa Ueno and Mr. Masazumi Yamada. This visit was chaired by Prof. Dato’ Dr. Mohamed Isa Abd Majid, representing the Director of CCB and Mr. Izam Fairus Kamaruddin, Principal Assistant Registrar.

Both parties shared the current insight of both institutions and their approaches in research management and human resource development. The 2 hours of visit cum meeting has tied a better relationship between both institutes which open the way for collaboration and knowledge transfer potential beyond technical research matter.

27 September 2012 : CCB Holds Pathway Studio Seminar

Thursday, September 27, 2012 – Centre for Chemical Biology (CCB), Universiti Sains Malaysia takes the initiative to organize the Pathway Studio Seminar that aims to expose participants to Pathway Studio and its function in building, developing, analysing biological routes and interpreting gene expression and high-throughput data.

A total of 11 participants consisting of representatives from the School of Biological Sciences, Advanced Medical & Dental Institute (AMDI) and Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine (INFORMM) attended the program, which saw the introductory presentation on the software by Ms. Ong Su Yean, Research Officer of Pathway Studio and a live demonstration that offers participants the practical way to explore the software.

In near future, Pathway Studio will be offered as a service to the scientific community of USM to further boost their research in various fields including drug design and medical research.

2 August 2012 : Prof. Graham’s visit to Centre for Chemical Biology

The Centre for Chemical Biology, Universiti Sains Malaysia received a visit from the honourable Professor Graham Kendall (Dunford Professor of Computer Science and Vice-Provost, Research and Knowledge Transfer, Malaysia Campus) and Mdm Maraton Yahya (External Relations Representative) from The University of Nottingham. Their visit was accompanied by the Acting Director of CCB, Professor Emeritus V. Navaratnam, and the Principal Assistant Registrar, Mr. Izam Fairus Kamaruddin.

USM Deepens Collaborations With Japan’s Top Research Institute

Universiti Sains Malaysia marks a new history of its own by becoming an important partner for RIKEN, a leading Research Institute in Japan.

In a simple but meaningful ceremony in Tokyo, USM and RIKEN signed a comprehensive Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) covering joint research collaborations as well as personnel and students’ exchange, strengthening existing joint Laboratory for Bioprobe Discovery signed last year. The signing ceremony marks the highlight of USM ambassadors’ two day visit to RIKEN main office as well as its Yokohama branch.

Expressing his aspiration to bring USM research to the forefront by partnering up in specific areas with strategic partners, USM Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dato’ Omar Osman believes that working together with one of the world’s leading research institute akin to RIKEN Research Institute will support the university drive for capacity building in the selected fields of strength.

Prof. Omar is honored by the kind gesture and offer by the institute to USM and believes that the signed MOA brings the existing cooperation to a higher level. He said RIKEN’s approach to ensure research activities conducted by the institute can benefit the society is very much similar to USM’s vision and mission.

Meeting his counterpart, Professor Ryoji Noyori, after the signing ceremony, Prof. Omar offers RIKEN to establish a joint centre at USM Science Park and also welcomes more researchers from RIKEN to conduct research in USM.