People suffering from vision problems may be given more hope after a new study published in Science Translational Medicine revealed that biosynthetic corneas can improve damaged eye tissue.
University of Ottawa professor Dr. May Griffith has been developing biosynthetic corneas for over a decade with colleagues in Ottawa and Linköping University in Sweden. Her study has shown that for the first time, artificial corneas can integrate with the human eye.
“With further research, this approach could help restore sight to millions of people who are waiting for a donated human cornea for transplantation,” said Dr. Griffith.
Ten Swedish patients who had suffered from corneal scarring underwent surgery to remove the damaged tissue and were fitted with biosynthetic corneas. After two years of close observation, the cells and nerves of the patients’ corneas had successfully bonded with the synthetic implant.
Although only six of the patients noticed an improvement in vision, doctors remain optimistic that the new study will pave the way for further research that will help those with severe vision problems.
“New studies are being planned that will extend the use of the biosynthetic cornea to a wider range of sight-threatening conditions requiring transplantation,” said Dr. Fagerholm at Linköping University.