New corneal hole filler

A group of international researchers are trialling a synthetic gel to repair holes in the cornea, providing a potential alternative to corneal transplant.

“Until now, patients have had their perforated corneas sealed with a medical-grade super glue, but this is only a short-term solution because it is often poorly tolerated in the eye, making transplantation necessary,” said lead researcher, Professor May Griffith from Canada’s Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Centre.

The gel, a synthetic, biocompatible and adhesive liquid hydrogel called LiQD Cornea, is applied as a liquid but quickly adheres and gels within the corneal tissue without the need for light exposure.

“The LiQD Cornea promotes tissue regeneration, thus treating corneal perforations without the need for transplantation,” said Prof Griffith adding the use of synthetic collagen rather than human collagen is also less costly and reduces the risk of immune rejection.

The study, which involved researchers in Canada, the US, Belgium, Australia, Sweden and the UK was published in Science Advances.

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