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Thursday / July 7.
HomeminewsBionic Corneas Restore Vision

Bionic Corneas Restore Vision

Artificial corneas are being used to restore vision in partially-blind patients, giving many blind and partially sighted people hope that they will see again.

Ten patients with disease of the cornea, a major cause of blindness, were fitted with corneas made from biosynthetic tissue rather than conventional human donor corneas.

Two years after surgery, all the implanted corneas were still viable, with no serious reactions or complications. Six of the patients had better vision than before their surgery. Tissue grew into the grafts and nerves regenerated themselves.

According to a statement from Linkoping University, Sweden, the new study from researchers in Sweden and Canada has shown that biosynthetic corneas can help regenerate and repair damaged eye tissue and improve vision.

“This study is… the first to show that an artificially fabricated cornea can integrate with the human eye and stimulate regeneration,” said senior author Dr. May Griffith of Linköping University. “With further research, this approach could help restore sight to millions of people who are waiting for a donated human cornea for transplantation.”

Researchers initiated a clinical trial in 10 Swedish patients with advanced keratoconus or central corneal scarring. Each patient underwent surgery on one eye to remove damaged corneal tissue and replace it with the biosynthetic cornea, made from synthetically cross-linked recombinant human collagen.

Over two years of follow-up, the researchers observed that cells and nerves from the patients’ own corneas had grown into the implant, resulting in a “regenerated” cornea that resembled normal, healthy tissue and patients did not experience any rejection reaction or require long-term immune suppression.

“We are very encouraged by these results and by the great potential of biosynthetic corneas,” said Dr. Fagerholm. “Further biomaterial enhancements and modifications to the surgical technique are ongoing, and new studies are being planned that will extend the use of the biosynthetic cornea to a wider range of sight-threatening conditions requiring transplantation.”

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