The influence of surface topography of a porous perfluoropolyether polymer on corneal epithelial tissue growth and adhesion

Margaret D M Evans, Hassan Chaouk, John S Wilkie, Beatrice A. Dalton, Sarah Taylor, Ruo Zhong Xie, Timothy C. Hughes, Graham Johnson, Gail A. McFarland, Hans Griesser, John G. Steele, Gordon F. Meijs, Deborah F. Sweeney, Keith M. McLean

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Design principles for corneal implants are challenging and include permeability which inherently involves pore openings on the polymer surface. These topographical cues can be significant to a successful clinical outcome where a stratified epithelium is needed over the device surface, such as with a corneal onlay or corneal repair material. The impact of polymer surface topography on the growth and adhesion of corneal epithelial tissue was assessed using porous perfluoropolyether membranes with a range of surface topography. Surfaces were characterised by AFM and XPS, and the permeability and water content of membranes was measured. Biological testing of membranes involved a 21-day in vitro tissue assay to evaluate migration, stratification and adhesion of corneal epithelium. Similar parameters were monitored in vivo by surgically implanting membranes into feline corneas for up to 5 months. Data showed optimal growth and adhesion of epithelial tissue in vitro when polymer surface features were below a 150 nm RMS value. Normal processes of tissue growth and adhesion were disrupted when RMS values approached 300 nm. Data from the in vivo study confirmed these findings. Together, outcomes demonstrated the importance of surface topography in the design of implantable devices that depend on functional epithelial cover.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8870-8879
Number of pages10
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Cornea
  • Fluoropolymer
  • In vitro
  • In vivo

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