Micro 3D Printed Molds Used to Develop Self-Moisturizing Contact Lenses

Researchers at the Manipal Academy of Higher Education have used projection micro stereolithography (PµSL) to print high-resolution molds to create self-moisturizing contact lenses. Dry eye problems, inflammation, and corneal wounds are common among contact lens wearers. Embedding microchannels into contact lenses through 3D printing allows the contacts to retain moisture.

The researchers used a microArch S140 printer to fabricate concave molds with a base curve of 8.5mm and a diameter of 15mm. The mold also contained 100 µm x 100 µm microchannels to allow the lens to be self-moisturizing. The printed molds were then used to create polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) contact lenses with microchannels.

Fabricating contact lenses embedded with microchannels using 3D printed molds.

3D printing often leads to a staircase effect between layers, limiting the vertical printing precision, surface finish, and mechanical properties of the contact lenses. As expected, the 3D printed molds also demonstrated this staircase effect. The researchers were able to reduce the staircase effect by using PµSL advanced engineering to print layers with 10 µm resolution.

The researchers were able to successfully demonstrate a self-moisturizing effect in the contact lenses fabricated using the 3D printed molds. Interested in learning more? Read more here.

About BMF

Boston Micro Fabrication (BMF) specializes in micro precision 3D printing. Our microArch system uses PμSL technology, a unique 3D printing approach that leverages light, customizable optics, a high-quality movement platform, and controlled processing mechanics to produce the industry’s most accurate and precise high-resolution 3D prints for product development, research, and industrial short-run production. The technology represents a true industry breakthrough by empowering product manufacturers to capitalize on the benefits of 3D printing without sacrificing quality or scale. Contact us to learn more about PµSL technology for micro 3D printing.