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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 18 August, 2022

  • 6 Min Read

Bioengineered Cornea Implants

Bioengineered Cornea Implants

A successful alternative bioengineered cornea implant comprised of collagen derived from pig skin has recently been developed by Swedish researchers.

About the recent research

According to estimates, 12.7 million individuals worldwide are blind as a result of their corneas.

Medical-grade collagen:

  • The researchers employed medical-grade collagen obtained from pig skin, a by-product of the food industry that is already utilised in medical equipment for glaucoma surgery, as a substitute for human corneas.
  • Collagen, a protein, makes up the majority of the cornea.

Important advantages:

  • In addition to being less expensive and more accessible than donated corneas, this can also be kept for up to two years in storage and requires a much less invasive operation.
  • While bioengineered corneas can be preserved for up to two years before use, donor corneas must be used within two weeks.
  • Economically advantageous:
  • Because the pig skin is a byproduct of the food business, it is simple to get and cost-effective.
  • Treatment for life:
  • The researchers discovered that two years following surgery, none of the patients were still blind.
  • The findings indicate that it is feasible to create a biomaterial that satisfies all requirements for usage as human implants, which can be mass-produced and kept in storage for up to two years, reaching even more people with visual issues.

Method

  • The researchers created a minimally invasive technique that doesn't require stitches and involves making a small incision in the patient's eye and inserting the implant over the natural cornea.
  • High-precision lasers or easily accessible surgical equipment can be used for this.

Leading causes of blindness:

  • Around 12.7 million individuals worldwide are blind due to damage to the cornea, the transparent outermost layer of the eye. This condition is more common in developing nations where there is a shortage of donated human corneas.
  • Researchers assert that there is a significant corneal shortage, with only one cornea accessible for every 70 patients.
  • People who live in low- and middle-income nations in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East are additionally burdened by logistical and storage issues in addition to pricey surgical equipment.

Keratoconus:

  • In India and Iran, the implant was used to successfully treat 20 patients with keratoconus, a condition that causes the cornea to thin and often results in blindness.

About Cornea:

  • The Cornea is the translucent, avascular portion of the eye that surrounds the iris and pupil and permits light to enter the inside.

In two ways, it benefits the eye:

  • It aids in protecting the remainder of the eye from contaminants like dust and bacteria. Together with the eyelids, the socket, tears, and the sclera, or the white component of the eye, the cornea performs this protective function.
  • It serves as the outermost lens of the eye. Similar to a window, it directs and concentrates light as it enters the eye. Between 65 and 75 per cent of the eye's entire focusing power comes from the cornea.

What happens when the cornea is harmed?

  • The ability of your eye to focus on objects both close up and far away is influenced by the curvature of this outer layer.
  • The scars or discolouration that develop from disease, infection or injury to the cornea can impair vision by obstructing or distorting light as it enters the eye.

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Source: The Indian Express


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