The search for an ideal orbital implant is still ongoing in the field of ocular biomaterials. Major limitations of currently-available porous implants include the high cost along with a non-negligible risk of exposure and postoperative infection due to conjunctival abrasion. In the effort to develop better alternatives to the existing devices, two types of new glass-ceramic porous implants were fabricated by sponge replication, which is a relatively inexpensive method. Then, they were characterized by direct three-dimensional (3D) contact probe mapping in real space by means of atomic force microscopy in order to assess their surface micro- and nano-features, which were quantitatively compared to those of the most commonly-used orbital implants. These silicate glass-ceramic materials exhibit a surface roughness in the range of a few hundred nanometers (Sq
within 500–700 nm) and topographical features comparable to those of clinically-used “gold-standard” alumina and polyethylene porous orbital implants. However, it was noted that both experimental and commercial non-porous implants were significantly smoother than all the porous ones. The results achieved in this work reveal that these porous glass-ceramic materials show promise for the intended application and encourage further investigation of their clinical suitability.
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