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Artificial Cornea To Reach Patients This Year 94

Posted by Soulskill
from the check-out-my-eye-pod dept.
kkleiner writes "A German-led team of researchers has developed a new version of an ophthalmological polymer to which the eye will bond and still function normally. 'The new polymer could help restore sight to thousands waiting for corneal transplants around the world. The artificial cornea has passed clinical trials and is ready to see expanded use in patients this year. ... In order to work in the human body, an artificial cornea has to meet some stringent requirements. First, it has to bond to the human eye around its edge. ... The center of the artificial cornea, however, does not promote cell growth and remains clear so that it can be seen through. The artificial cornea also has to move freely with the eyelid and balance moisture on its faces.'"
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Artificial Cornea To Reach Patients This Year

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  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday June 07, 2010 @06:50PM (#32490286) Homepage

    So you'd have your cornea removed and a new one put in?

    Well, given the first corneal transplant [wikipedia.org] was done in *1905*, and was one of the first organ transplants ever performed, yes, that's exactly what would happen.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @07:04PM (#32490376)

    But the idea of having built-in sunglasses is interesting to me... not that I would have it done unless it were necessary to replace my cornea anyway...

    They have contacts that block UV. I find mine more comfortable than glasses. Still, I wear sunglasses when it's bright.

  • This is great news (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @07:06PM (#32490388)

    I've got Keratoconus, a nasty degenerative corneal condition that has to potential to leave me legally bind. This news just made my day!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @07:59PM (#32490788)

    "More interestingly, an artificial cornea can do things to improve the health of the eye. For example, an artificial cornea could be made to block UV rays or even be polarized."

    Both could be done easier by replacing the lens instead. Which might already be done, given there are artificial lens replacements (artificial cataract replacement) which includes corrective lenses (such as Crystalens). According to the wikipedia entry for "intraocular lens", a uv filter has already been done.

    You can't do everything of course, given the cornea is responsible for most of the lensing effect in the eye (even more than the lens) but I have pretty shitty vision (my cornea would supposedly collapse) and they recommend the IOL if I ever wanted to get rid of eyeglasses and contacts.
    You c

  • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday June 07, 2010 @08:23PM (#32490976) Homepage

    Honestly, with this first being performed in 1905 and being the single most common transplant surgery done in the world, I expected that in any industrialized nation there was an ample supply of donor tissue.

    It's not so much an issue with tissue availability as it is issues with compatibility, rejection, etc. If you can make an equally capable, synthetic cornea, you can do away with all that, and that strikes me as a substantial win (though, at least at the outset, probably not a win on cost).

    I mean, I'm assuming this technology was developed for *some* reason. :)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, 2010 @11:56PM (#32492236)

    For my transplant I was only asleep while they immobilized my eye, I was awake for the actual surgery. BTW, your cornea doesn't feel anything, when you "feel" something in your eye or some other similar pain, it's usually your eyelid that actually feels the pain.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @03:55AM (#32493248)

    LASIK doesn't reshape the lens, only the cornea. The difference between LASIK and PRK is that in LASIK they cut and fold a thin flap off the surface of the cornea, then use the laser to modify the shape (the same as PRK), then place the flap back on top of the operated area. This way the outermost surface of the eye is the same as it was before the surgery, and protects the healing process. PRK is more prone to complications like bacterial infection because the tissue that was burnt by the laser is open to the elements while it heals. My eye surgeon also said that LASIK produces slightly more consistent results. (I've got 20/15 in both eyes now instead of the uncorrectable-by-glasses astigmatic mess I used to have, so I can vouch for it)

  • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @04:13AM (#32493338)

    In diseases like keratoconus [wikipedia.org], a degenerative eye disorder, there are cases in which even transplanted corneas degenerate again in time. A synthetic obviously wouldn't have this problem. I suppose it could also be custom made to the eye making for a better fit than organic parts sliced off of a corpse which are bound to be imperfect. Corneal transplants are rejected in keratoconus cases in roughly about 10% of cases and people who have rejected one graft seem more predisposed to reject following grafts as well. Those people would also be helped by this procedure.
    As someone who has (relatively mild at the moment) keratoconus I certainly welcome this news.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @09:08AM (#32494828) Homepage Journal

    probably not a win on cost

    A CrystaLens, which replaces the focusing lens behind the iris, will cure nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and cataracts. The surgery cost about $7,000 per eye, which is cheap compared to some surgeries. I imagine this tech would be even cheaper; the CrystaLens was FDA approved in 2003, so is still under patent. They're about $1000 more than the older monofocal IOLs.

  • by weszz (710261) on Tuesday June 08, 2010 @09:17AM (#32494920)

    Not necessarily... I'm going to see an eye doc today about intacs for kerataconus (sp?), or the steepening of the eye as a genetic disorder. I have it in just one eye, and I didn't do anything to trash my eye, but a cornea transplant is one possible fix.

    For anyone interested in what this looks like, with my left eye closed I get a ghost vision where there are 2 clear images, one is just overlayed on the other... when the TV menu is up, I can read what is on one line, and I also see it on the line just above it as a ghost image... it's odd, but this would be one possible treatment for it.

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