Purpose of review: To provide an update on currently available materials used in the manufacture of intraocular lenses, as well as new materials under development, especially with regard to their uveal and capsular biocompatibility.
Recent findings: The biocompatibility of intraocular lens materials should be assessed in terms of uveal biocompatibility, related to the inflammatory foreign-body reaction of the eye against the implant, as well as in terms of capsular biocompatibility, determined by the relationship of the intraocular lens with remaining lens epithelial cells within the capsular bag. This situation may result in different entities, e.g. anterior capsule opacification, interlenticular opacification (between piggyback intraocular lenses), posterior capsule opacification and lens epithelial cell ongrowth. Reports on intraocular lens opacification suggest that the potential to calcify should also be taken into consideration when evaluating the long-term biocompatibility of a new material.
Summary: Intraocular lenses are being progressively implanted in much earlier stages of life (refractive lens exchange, pediatric implantation) and are expected to remain in the intraocular environment for many decades. Materials used in intraocular lens manufacture should, therefore, insure long-term uveal and capsular biocompatibility, as well as ultimate transparency after implantation.