Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Artificial Cornea Saves Eyesight

Date:
October 9, 2007
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Every year, in Germany alone, around 7000 people wait for a new cornea to save their eyesight. But donor corneas are in short supply. Researchers have now developed an artificial cornea which is to be clinically tested in early 2008. A patient whose cornea is damaged through a congenital malformation, hereditary disease or corrosion is at risk of going blind. One solution is to implant a donor cornea but they are in short supply.

Scientists have developed an artificial cornea. The first implants have already been tested in rabbits' eyes -- with promising results. If further tests are successful, the technology will be tried on humans in 2008.
Credit: Image courtesy of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Every year, in Germany alone, around 7000 people wait for a new cornea to save their eyesight. But donor corneas are in short supply. In an EU project, researchers have developed an artificial cornea which is to be clinically tested in early 2008.

A patient whose cornea is damaged through a congenital malformation, hereditary disease or corrosion is at risk of going blind. One solution is to implant a donor cornea. The central part of the natural cornea is removed in a circular fashion, and the new cornea is inserted and sutured in place. A vast number of patients are affected: every year, 40,000 people in Europe alone hope for a donor – often in vain. Many attempts have therefore been made at producing artificial corneas, so far with little success. This is due to the conflicting requirements imposed on the material: While it has to grow firmly into the natural tissue at the edge, it must allow no cells to deposit themselves at the center of the cornea, as this impairs the patient’s vision.

Working with other colleagues in the EU-funded CORNEA project, research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam and the Department of Ophthalmology at the University Hospital of Regensburg have found a solution. “Our artificial corneas are based on a commercially available polymer which absorbs no water and allows no cells to grow on it,” says IAP project manager Dr. Joachim Storsberg. “Once our partner Dr. Schmidt Intraokularlinsen GmbH has suitably shaped the polymers, we selectively coat the implants: We lay masks on them and apply a special protein to the edge of the cornea, which the cells of the natural cornea can latch onto.

In this way, the cornea implant can firmly connect with the natural part of the cornea, while the center remains free of cells and therefore clear.” What is special about this protein is that it can survive the later thermal sterilization of the artificial cornea without being damaged, as it does not have the three-dimensional structure typical of large proteins. Such a structure would be destroyed during the sterilization process, leading to changes in the material’s properties. The optical front part of the implant is coated with a hydrophilic polymer, so that it is constantly moistened with tear fluid.

Researchers in Dr. Karin Kobuch’s working group at Regensburg University Hospital have already tested these corneas in the laboratory and found that their cells graft very well at the edge and cease growing where the coating stops. The optical center of the implant thus remains clear. The first implants have already been tested in rabbits’ eyes – with promising results. If further tests are successful, the technology will be tried on humans in 2008.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Artificial Cornea Saves Eyesight." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071007204604.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2007, October 9). Artificial Cornea Saves Eyesight. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071007204604.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Artificial Cornea Saves Eyesight." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071007204604.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 25, 2014) Shipping containers have been piling up as America imports more than it exports. Some university students in Washington D.C. are set to get a first-hand lesson in recycling. Their housing is being built using refashioned shipping containers. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins