In this study, a new silica-based crosslinker was successfully synthesized with the reaction between silica nanoparticles modified with amino groups and glycidyl methacrylate (GMA). Using the synthesized silica-based crosslinker, p(HEMA) and p(HEMA-co-APTMACI) hydrogels were synthesized for use as drug carrier systems with the free radical polymerization method. The synthesized silica-based crosslinker and hydrogels were characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Fourier transform-infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) devices. The swelling behavior of hydrogels cross-linked with silica was investigated in different physiological media. The hydrogels were loaded with sodium diclofenac (NaDc) as a model drug. Drug release studies from the obtained drug-loaded hydrogels were performed at 37 degrees C in PBS (pH 7.0) media. Additionally, the antibacterial properties of the hydrogels synthesized in the study were investigated against E. coli (gram-negative), B. subtilis, and S. aureus (gram-positive) bacteria using the disk diffusion method. At the end of the study, p(HEMA-co-APTMACI) hydrogels were determined to display a better drug release profile than p(HEMA) hydrogels.