IIT-Hyderabad researchers developed an alternative to corneal transplantation | Daily Current Affairs 2021
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IIT-Hyderabad researchers developed an alternative to corneal transplantation

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Corneal Transplantation

Corneal Transplantation: Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-Hyderabad) researchers have recently developed an alternative to corneal transplantation.

  • The research team was led by Dr Falguni Pati, an Associate Professor at Department of Bio-medical Engineering at IIT-H.

Note:  A corneal scar is either opacity or irregularity in the cornea that could affect the cornea’s ability to accurately focus light.

Key Points:

  • Hydrogel was developed from discarded corneas of human and bovine sources using novel and simple method.
  • In an unexpected happening, the team discovered the most striking feature of this tissue-specific hydrogel to prevent cells from scar tissue formation.
  • Tissue formation is attributed to the micro-environment that cannot be offered by any synthetic or other natural material.
  • Hydrogel is capable of being injected because of its two phases viz., liquid and gel on the basis of incubation temperature.
  • The team also explored the potential of Hydrogel to serve as a material for minimally invasive treatment in order to replace complicated surgeries.

Significance:

  • Till date, no solution is available to prevent corneal scarring due to an injury.
  • For the first time the team demonstrated that this hydrogel can be applied immediately after injury which helps to regenerate the cornea without scarring.

Corneal disease:

  • Corneal disease is a leading cause of blindness and visual impairment in India and also in the rest of the developing world where there is also a huge shortage of donor corneal tissue.

About cornea:

  • The cornea is the transparent part of the eye that covers the front portion of the eye.
  • It acts as the eye’s outermost lens.
  • The cornea contributes between 65- 75 percent of the eye’s total focusing power.
  • The cornea is the only area of the human eye that does not have a blood supply.
  • The cornea’s main function is to refract, or bend, light.
  • The cornea is responsible for focusing most of the light that enters the eye.

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