New-generation artificial cornea could restore vision for millions worldwide

May 19, 2008
New-generation artificial cornea could restore vision for millions worldwide
Scientists report advances on new and improved artificial corneas, which could improve vision for more than 10 million people. Courtesy of the National Eye Institute

An improved artificial cornea, which could restore the vision of more than 10 million people worldwide who are blind due to diseased corneas, finally is moving toward reality, scientists in California conclude in a new analysis of research on the topic. Their study is scheduled for the June 6 issue of ACS' Biotechnology Progress.

Curtis Frank, Christopher Ta, David Myung, and Jennifer Cochran point out that disease or injury to the cornea — the clear tissue covering the front of the eye — is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide.

Although treated in developed countries with transplants from donors, cornea transplants are unavailable in many parts of the world due to shortages of donors or to cultural or religious barriers. The growing popularity of laser eye surgery also is reducing availability of corneas by making them unacceptable for donation, the researchers add.

The report describes new materials that already have made limited-use artificial corneas available, partially fulfilling a medical dream that dates to 1771. More advanced materials, including polymer hydrogels similar to those used to make soft contact lenses, promise to so closely imitate human donor corneas that “these devices could eliminate the need for donor corneas altogether,” the article notes.

Source: American Chemical Society

Explore further: Protective shell of sea-dwelling chiton paves way towards new materials that combine different functions

Related Stories

Synthetic eye prosthesis

May 20, 2010

( -- Donor corneas are a rarity: In Germany alone, each year roughly 7,000 patients wait for that miniscule piece of tissue. An implant made of plastic may soon offer patients -- especially those facing their ...

Implanted tooth helps blind US woman recover sight

September 16, 2009

A 60-year-old US grandmother, blind for nearly a decade, has recovered her sight after surgeons implanted a tooth in her eye as a base to hold a tiny plastic lens, her doctors said Wednesday.

Recommended for you

'Material universe' yields surprising new particle

November 25, 2015

An international team of researchers has predicted the existence of a new type of particle called the type-II Weyl fermion in metallic materials. When subjected to a magnetic field, the materials containing the particle act ...

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...

Study suggests fish can experience 'emotional fever'

November 25, 2015

(—A small team of researchers from the U.K. and Spain has found via lab study that at least one type of fish is capable of experiencing 'emotional fever,' which suggests it may qualify as a sentient being. In their ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.