Cellular invasion on hydrogel and poly(methyl methacrylate) implants. An in vivo study

J Cataract Refract Surg. 1991 Nov;17(6):774-9. doi: 10.1016/s0886-3350(13)80410-5.


Over a two-year postoperative period, cells on hydrogel (poly HEMA) and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) intraocular lenses (IOLs) were observed by specular microscopy. First small, round cells and fibroblast-like cells and later epithelioid-like cells and foreign-body giant cells could be seen on both IOL types. In eyes with prolonged postoperative inflammation a greater number of cells was observed and the cells remained on the IOL surface for a longer period. We found fewer cell reactions on hydrogel IOLs during the postoperative period of our follow-up. Foreign-body giant cells were observed on only 9%. These cells were smaller than those on PMMA IOLs. This finding may suggest that poly HEMA demonstrates greater biocompatibility, with regard to this foreign-body cell reaction, than PMMA. However, we found more pigment dispersion (50%) on the surface of hydrogel IOLs. These pigment deposits induced no cell reactions and there was less phagocytosis of the pigment debris. In 7% of the cases, dust-like, white precipitates of uncertain origin were seen; in 5% amorphous debris was seen. Fine scratches caused by polishing during the manufacturing process were seen in some cases. The postoperative clinical signs for PMMA and hydrogel IOLs were similar.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Cataract Extraction
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Giant Cells, Foreign-Body / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate
  • Lenses, Intraocular*
  • Methylmethacrylates*
  • Polyethylene Glycols*
  • Random Allocation


  • Biocompatible Materials
  • Methylmethacrylates
  • Hydrogel, Polyethylene Glycol Dimethacrylate
  • Polyethylene Glycols