Staying power: eye gel creates “therapeutic bandage”

UK researchers have patented an eye drop that transitions between a solid and liquid state to promote scarless healing from corneal infection


Scientists from the University of Birmingham have developed an eye drop that promotes scarless healing by moulding itself to the contours of the eye.

Research published in npj Regenerative Medicine described how the eye drop performed better when compared to current treatments for Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an eye infection commonly linked to poor contact lens hygiene. 

The gel encouraged faster healing, reduced scarring and improved corneal transparency.

While standard treatments involve using eye drops containing antibiotics or corticosteroids, the new gel is loaded with a natural wound-healing protein called decorin.

Professor Ann Logan, from the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, explained that the gel forms a “therapeutic bandage” on the surface of the eye to promote scarless healing.

Professor Liam Grover, from the University of Birmingham’s School of Chemical Engineering, highlighted that the eye drop is made from a novel material that can transition between a solid and a liquid state.

“This means it contours itself to the surface of the eye, is retained there and is only slowly removed by blinking,” he said.

The fluid gel has been patented by University of Birmingham Enterprise.