Two developments this week shine light on newly engineered treatments for the eye.
Tissue engineering researchers at Newcastle University (UK) have delivered the first 3D printed human cornea, aimed to help those afflicted with corneal blindness, a complication that affects up to 5 million people worldwide. Morphing stem cells from a healthy donor with collagen and alginate, the proof-of-concept research was able to produce a “bio-ink” gel for a 3D bio-printer. They can print one cornea in under 10 minutes. Professor Che Connon said, “Our 3D printed corneas will now have to undergo further testing and it will be several years before we could be in the position where we are using them for transplants. However, what we have shown is that it is feasible to print corneas using coordinates taken from a patient eye and that this approach has potential to combat the world-wide shortage.”
In the US, the “CustomFlex Artificial Iris” has just been approved by the USFDA, meaning patients with injured irises will be able to adopt this artificial lens for clearer vision, and those that have discoloured iris will be able to obtain cosmetic improvements.
Image: Pixabay / CC0-1.0 – Green eyes
This story is taken from the 08 June 2018 edition of The Warren Centre’s Prototype newsletter. Sign up for the Prototype here.