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Wasim Kapadia, Ning Qin, Pei Zhao, Chau-Minh Phan, Lacey Haines, Lyndon Jones, Carolyn L. Ren; Shear-Thinning and Temperature-Dependent Viscosity Relationships of Contemporary Ocular Lubricants. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2022;11(3):1. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.11.3.1.
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To evaluate the shear viscosity of contemporary, commercially available ocular lubricants at various shear rates and temperatures and to derive relevant mathematical viscosity models that are impactful for prescribing and developing eye drops to treat dry eye disease.
The shear viscosity of 12 ocular lubricants was measured using a rheometer and a temperature-controlled bath at clinically relevant temperatures at which users may experience exposure to the drops (out of the refrigerator [4.3°C]; room temperature [24.6°C]; ocular surface temperature [34.5°C]). Three replicates for each sample at each temperature were obtained using a standard volume (0.5 mL) of each sample. The viscosity of each ocular lubricant was measured over the full range of shear rates allowed by the rheometer.
The shear viscosity of the same ocular lubricant varied significantly among the three temperatures. In general, a higher temperature resulted in smaller viscosities than a lower temperature (an average of −48% relative change from 4.3°C to 24.6°C and −21% from 24.6°C to 34.5°C). At a constant temperature, the viscosity of an ocular lubricant over the studied shear rates can be well approximated by a power-law model.
Rheological analysis revealed that the ocular lubricants exhibited shear-thinning behavior at the measured temperatures. Differences in the ocular lubricants’ formulations and measured temperatures resulted in different viscosities.
When prescribing eye drops, eye care professionals can select the optimal one for their patients by considering a variety of factors, including its rheological property at physiologically relevant shear rates and temperatures, which can improve residence time on the ocular surface, while ensuring appropriate comfort and vision. However, care must be taken when using the derived mathematical models in this study because the in vivo shear behavior of the ocular lubricants has not been examined and might show deviations from those reported when placed on the ocular surface.
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