Eye implants made from pig skin restore sight to blind people, according to a new study.
Researchers created implants similar to the human cornea from animal collagen proteins.
In a pilot study, 20 of her patients with diseased corneas regained their sight. Most of them were blind before receiving implants.
Scientists say their promising results offer hope for people suffering from corneal blindness and low vision.
Bioengineered implants are an alternative to transplantation of donated human corneas. This is in short supply in countries where the need is greatest.
The cornea is the transparent part of the eye that covers the iris and pupil and allows light to enter the eye. This is important for your ability to see.
Professor Neil Ragali of the Faculty of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences at Linköping University in Sweden was one of the researchers behind the study.
He said: “The results show that we can develop a biomaterial that meets all the criteria to be used as a human implant. Yes, with vision problems.
"This avoids the problem of a shortage of donated corneal tissue and access to other treatments for eye disease."
Experts estimate that 12.7 million people worldwide are blind due to injury or blindness. Despite the diseased cornea, he is the only one out of 70 patients who will receive a corneal transplant.
In addition, people who need corneal transplants tend to live in low- and middle-income countries where access to treatment is very limited.
Mehrdad Rafat is the researcher and entrepreneur behind the design and development of the implants and CEO of his LinkoCare Life Sciences AB, which manufactures the bioengineered corneas used in this study. is a person.
"That's why this technology can be used anywhere in the world."
To create an alternative to the human cornea, researchers derived it from pig skin. I used a collagen molecule. - A product of the food industry, easy to access.
Researchers have also developed a new, minimally invasive method to treat keratoconus, a condition in which the cornea becomes so thin that it can lead to blindness.
Transplantation typically involves surgically removing the patient's cornea, replacing it with a donated cornea, and sewing it in place using surgical sutures.
Professor Lagari, who led the research group that developed this surgical technique, said:
"Our method does not require the surgeon to remove the patient's own tissue.
"Instead, a small incision is made through which the implant is inserted into the existing cornea.
This new surgical technique does not require suturing.
This surgical method and implants have been used by surgeons in Iran and India. In these two countries, many people suffer from corneal blindness and low vision, but there is a significant shortage of corneas and treatment options provided.
Twenty of his who were blind or at risk of blindness due to advanced keratoconus received biomaterial implants.
A study found that the surgery was uncomplicated, the tissue healed quickly, and 8 weeks of treatment with immunosuppressive eye drops prevented implant rejection. 56} Conventional corneal transplantation requires several years of medication.
The patient was followed for 2 years, during which time no complications were noted.
Before surgery, 14 of the 20 participants were blind.
Two years later, no one was blind, and three of his pre-study blind Indian patients regained full (20/20) vision after surgery.
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