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A new method for keeping the cornea healthy after eye injury

Applying eye drops that contain the protein VEGF188 has the potential to improve nerve regeneration in the cornea following injury

Franziska Bucher
Researchers have highlighted the potential of a form of vascular endothelial growth factor for promoting healing following nerve injury.

The study, which was published in JCI Insight, outlined the important role of VEGF188 in corneal nerve regeneration.

As part of initial experiments, eye drops containing VEGF188 were applied to the cornea following injury.

The scientists found that the protein improved nerve regeneration but did not stimulate blood vessel growth in the injured cornea.

Franziska Bucher (pictured), from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology, highlighted: “This finding opens the door to developing a new treatment for patients with serious corneal wounds, because healing corneal nerves is a key step to healing the entire cornea.”

The study suggests that some of the side effects seen in patients with wet age-related macular degeneration who are given anti-VEGF treatment may result from the inhibition of VEGF188’s positive role in nerve regeneration.

Image credit: UCL Institute of Ophthalmology