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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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.