Nictitating membrane fixation improves stability of the contact lens on the animal corneal surface

PLoS One. 2018 Mar 27;13(3):e0194795. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194795. eCollection 2018.


We evaluated the feasibility and safety of nictitating membrane fixation to address reduced contact lens stability by the nictitating membrane in a rabbit model. Under general anesthesia, twelve animals received a horizontal mattress suture between the nictitating membrane and the upper eyelid of one eye. To assess the effects of this technique and secondary side effects, contact lens stability test, Schirmer tear test, tear break-up time measurement, eye tissue pathology and morphology were evaluated. Contact lens stability was increased after nictitating membrane fixation. The percentage of contact lens retention in the nictitating membrane fixed rabbit after 4 hours was 90% whereas that in the untreated rabbit was 42.5%. In addition, there were no significant differences in tear quantity and quality between the fixed and untreated eyes. Furthermore, no remarkable pathological lesions were found in gross observation during the 1-month time period or the following pathological examination. In this study, we demonstrated that nictitating membrane fixation increases contact lens stability without specific side effects using a rabbit model. This minimally invasive procedure could be useful when designing animal models for testing new contact lenses and has potential to apply to other biomaterial research on the ocular surface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conjunctiva / metabolism
  • Conjunctiva / pathology
  • Contact Lenses, Hydrophilic*
  • Cornea / metabolism
  • Cornea / pathology*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Male
  • Models, Animal
  • Nictitating Membrane / surgery*
  • Polyglactin 910 / chemistry
  • Rabbits
  • Tears / physiology


  • Polyglactin 910