Uveal and capsular biocompatibility of hydrophilic acrylic, hydrophobic acrylic, and silicone intraocular lenses

J Cataract Refract Surg. 2002 Jan;28(1):50-61. doi: 10.1016/s0886-3350(01)01122-1.


Purpose: To evaluate the long-term response of 6 types of 3-piece intraocular lenses (IOLs) by assessing the cellular reaction on the anterior IOL surface, the behavior of posterior and anterior capsule fibrosis, and flare.

Setting: Department of Ophthalmology, Medical School, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Methods: One hundred eighty eyes were prospectively randomized to receive 1 of 6 IOLs: hydrophilic acrylic Hydroview (Bausch & Lomb) or MemoryLens (ORC); hydrophobic acrylic AcrySof MA60BM (Alcon) or AMO Sensar AR40 (Allergan); hydrophobic silicone CeeOn 920 or CeeOn 911A (Pharmacia). The patients had standardized cataract surgery, postoperative medication, and follow-up. One year after surgery, 155 eyes were assessed. The cellular reaction was evaluated by specular microscopy of the anterior IOL surface. Anterior and posterior capsule opacification (PCO) was assessed semiquantitatively by biomicroscopy. Flare was measured with a Kowa FC-1000 laser flare-cell meter.

Results: Regarding uveal biocompatibility, the hydrophobic acrylic IOLs showed the highest incidence of late foreign-body cell reaction (AcrySof, 30%; AR40, 17%) followed by the hydrophilic acrylic (MemoryLens, 8%; Hydroview, 4%) and silicone (CeeOn 920, 4%; CeeOn 911A, 0%) (P =.0044). In all cases, the cellular reaction was low grade and clinically insignificant. Regarding capsular biocompatibility, some eyes developed lens epithelial cell (LEC) outgrowth on the anterior IOL surface. The highest incidence was in the hydrophilic acrylic group (Hydroview, 85%; MemoryLens, 27%) followed by the hydrophobic acrylic (AcrySof, 4%; AR40, 3%). No silicone IOL had LECs on the anterior surface. The difference among IOL groups was significant (P =.0001). Anterior capsule opacification was more predominant in the hydrophobic IOL groups. Posterior capsule opacification of the central 3.0 mm area was lowest in the groups with a sharp-edged optic (CeeOn 911A, AcrySof) followed by the round-edged silicone (CeeOn 920), hydrophobic acrylic (AR40), and hydrophilic acrylic IOLs (P =.0001). There was a significant difference in flare between the AR40 lens and the Hydroview, MemoryLens, CeeOn 911A, and CeeOn 920 (P <.004). There was no statistically significant difference in the postoperative cell count at 1 year. The power calculation showed that the sample size was sufficient.

Conclusions: The differences in cellular reaction, although clinically mild in normal eyes, indicate that there were more giant cells with hydrophobic acrylic IOLs and an increased tendency toward LEC outgrowth with hydrophilic lenses. The incidence of PCO was lowest in the hydrophobic IOL groups, especially in groups with a sharp-edged optic. Second-generation silicone IOLs with a sharp edge had good uveal and capsular biocompatibility 1 year after surgery.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acrylic Resins / adverse effects
  • Aged
  • Biocompatible Materials / adverse effects*
  • Capsulorhexis
  • Cataract / etiology*
  • Epithelial Cells / pathology
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Foreign-Body Reaction / etiology*
  • Giant Cells / pathology
  • Humans
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Lens Capsule, Crystalline / pathology*
  • Lens Implantation, Intraocular
  • Lenses, Intraocular / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Phacoemulsification
  • Prospective Studies
  • Silicone Elastomers / adverse effects
  • Uveal Diseases / etiology*
  • Uveal Diseases / pathology


  • Acrylic Resins
  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Silicone Elastomers