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Light-activated gel seals corneal cuts and ulcers

US researchers are developing a gel that could one day reduce the need for corneal transplant surgery

21 Mar 2019 by Selina Powell

A gel that hardens and sticks to the corneal surface following exposure to light could one day reduce the need for corneal transplant surgery.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear have developed GelCore, a gel that takes on the biomechanical features of the cornea following a short exposure to blue light.

Writing in Science Advancesscientists describe a pre-clinical trial where the gel was applied at a 20% concentration to corneal defects of 3mm before being exposed to light for four minutes.

Following light exposure, the gel hardened and stuck to the corneal defect. A day after the procedure, the ocular surface was smooth and transparent with a clear and inflammation-free surrounding cornea.

One week after application the gel could still be observed at the site of the corneal defect and remained transparent. Researchers report that over time the tissue showed signs of regeneration.

Image credit: Karen Roe/Flickr 

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