Scientists at the University of Melbourne have developed an alternative to cornea transplantation that could help restore vision in the millions of vision-impaired patients with corneal disease around the globe. The procedure has not been tested in human patients yet, but the researchers have successfully restored vision in animals involved in their studies.
Thousands of cornea transplants are conducted worldwide each year, but a large percentage fail because of donor rejection. The new procedure harvests some of the patient's own cells, which are then cultivated on a synthetic hydrogel film in a laboratory. The film is then inserted under the inner surface of the cornea where it re-establishes moisture transference between the components of the eye.