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Artificial Vitreous Body Extracted from Algae

Researchers in Korea have discovered an innovative approach to treating retinal detachment, developing an artificial vitreous body made from a substance extracted from algae.

The researchers, from Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) and Dong-A University Hospital, said the alginate-based hydrogel is highly biocompatible and has optical properties closely resembling the natural vitreous body.

“Retinal detachment and other visionthreatening disorders often necessitate vitreous body removal and tamponade injection for retina stabilisation,” the authors explained in an article in the journal, Biomaterials. 1

“Current clinical tamponades, such as silicone oil and expansile gases, have drawbacks, including patient discomfort and the need for secondary surgery.

“We introduce a transparent alginatephenylboronic acid/polyvinyl alcohol composite hydrogel (TALPPH) as a novel vitreous substitute with tamponading capabilities.”

In a rabbit model of vitrectomy retinal detachment, TALPPH demonstrated an ability to inhibit retinal detachment recurrence and preserve rabbit vision without adverse effects, the study authors said.

“TALPPH’s close resemblance to the natural vitreous body suggests potential as a vitreous tamponade substitute for future ophthalmological applications.”


  1. Choi, G., An, S. H., Cha, H. J., et al., Injectable alginatebased in situ self-healable transparent hydrogel as a vitreous substitute with a tamponading function, Biomaterials, 305; 2024, 122459. DOI: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2023.122459.