Bioengineered implants serve as an alternative to transplants of donated human corneas, which are rare in countries where they are in greatest need.
“The results suggest that it is possible to develop a biomaterial that meets all the criteria to be used as a human implant, which can be mass-produced and stored for up to two years and thus improve vision.” can reach even more people with problems. This leads us around to the lack of donated corneal tissue and the risk of eye diseases,” said Professor Neil Lagali from the Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences at Linköping University (LIU) in Sweden. the problem of access to other treatments.”
In a pilot study published in Nature Biotechnology, the transplant restored vision to 20 people with diseased corneas in India and Iran. Of the 20 14 participants, including 3 from India, were blind before receiving the transplant.
In addition to being safe, the implant also normalized the thickness and curvature of the cornea. The participants’ vision improved as much as they would have after the cornea transplant with the donated tissue. Two years later, none of the participants was blind anymore. The researchers said that three Indian participants who were blind before the study had correct (20/20) vision after the operation.
The team also developed a new, minimally invasive method for treating keratoconus disease, in which the cornea becomes so thin that it can lead to blindness.
Currently, the cornea of a keratoconus patient in an advanced stage is surgically removed and replaced by a donated cornea, which is sewn into place using surgical sutures.
In contrast, the newer surgical method does not require stitches. The incision in the cornea can be made with high precision thanks to an advanced laser, but also by hand with simple surgical instruments whenever needed. This method was previously tested on pigs and turned out to be simpler and potentially safer than traditional corneal transplantation.
The surgical method and implants were used by surgeons in Iran and India on 20 people who were either blind or on the verge of losing vision due to advanced keratoconus; and received a biomaterial implant.
The operations were free of complications; tissue heals faster; And eight weeks of treatment with immunosuppressive eye drops was enough to prevent rejection of the implant. With a traditional cornea transplant, the drug must be taken for several years. The patients were followed for two years, and no complications were observed during that time.
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