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HomeminewsContact Lens Inspired Condoms

Contact Lens Inspired Condoms

A new condom made from hydrogels, feels more like skin and has the potential to be embedded with biological agents that prevent the transmission of disease. Hydrogels are commonly used in the manufacture of daily disposable contact lenses. Indeed, some 60 million people now wear safer, more breathable ‘soft’ silicone hydrogel contact lenses manufactured using a scientific formula designed by the late Professor Brien Holden and his colleagues at UNSW more than three decades ago.1

They consist mainly of water held together by molecular chains called polymers. They can be tailored to feel, look and act more like natural tissue and engineered to deliver functionality such as self-lubrication, topical drug delivery, and biodegradability. The next generation Geldom condoms have been developed by a team at University of Wollongong, led by Dr. Robert Gorkin. The aim was to achieve a condom that “significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use”. Lack of condom use, partially due to stigmas around a decrease in sensation, affects the health and well-being of many people in developing countries.

To assist in the development of the hydrogel condom, Dr. Gorkin’s team received one of 52 international grants awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gate Foundation, under the Round 12 Grand Challenges Explorations grants, which foster innovation in global health research. The team is now crowd-funding ahead of clinical trials.

Contact lenses, embedded with medications, are emerging as a treatment method for ocular diseases like glaucoma. Researchers from the University of California have bound together glaucoma-fighting drugs with nanodiamonds and embedded them into contact lenses with the ultimate goal of delivering the medication to the eye over an extended period of time.

1. www.newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/general/vale-brien-holden
2. www.newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/nanodiamond-embeddedcontact-lenses-250078