According to scientists, corneal diseases are among the leading cause of blindness around the world. This can be addressed with cornea transplants, but donors are difficult to come by. A synthetic version of this critical component of the human vision system has just been made available.
The transplant was developed by German experts at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP, in Potsdam, together with colleagues at the Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, ACTO e.V. and the Ophthalmic Clinic Cologne-Merheim.
“We are in the process of developing two different types of artificial corneas. One of them can be used as an alternative to a donor cornea in cases where the patient would not tolerate a donor cornea, let alone the issue of donor material shortage,” IAP project manager, Dr. Joachim Storsberg, explains.
The second cornea implant contains an innovative chemically and biologically inert base, which enables the edges of the synthetic material to blend seamlessly with the rest of the patient's own cornea, AlphaGalileo reports.