The experimentation –
“Although corneal blindness can be cured by transplantation, an estimated 12.7 million people await a cornea donor, with one cornea available in every 70 needed,” write the researchers who have sought to develop an affordable, accessible cornea replacement. and easy to implant.
The device was created using collagen molecules derived from pig skin that has undergone a purification process already used for other medical applications.
The artificial cornea was implanted in 20 patients suffering from a degenerative disease of the cornea (keratoconus) in Iran and India. Fourteen of them were blind.
The results –
In the weeks following the surgery, the implant proved to be able to correct disease-related damage, restoring the thickness and structure of the cornea. Participants’ vision improved similarly to what would have been expected after a natural cornea transplant.
The 14 blind patients regained their vision and three of them acquired 10/10 perfect vision. “The results show that it is possible to develop a biomaterial that meets all the criteria to be used for human implants, which can be mass-produced and stored for up to two years and thus reach even more people with vision problems,” he said. Study coordinator Neil Lagali said in a note. “This gets us around the problem of a shortage of donor corneal tissue and access to other treatments for eye diseases,” he concluded.