A ‘filling’ for the eye: UK scientists use synthetic gel to repair holes in the cornea

Researchers from Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology are developing an alternative to corneal transplantation

cornea
Pixabay/Skeeze
Researchers are trialling the use of a synthetic gel to repair holes in the cornea.

The technique, which is described in Science Advances, could one day provide an alternative to a corneal transplant.

Moorfields Eye Hospital described the repair method as similar to a dental filling.

Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology consultant ophthalmic surgeon, Bruce Allan, said: “We are looking forward to this work progressing to clinical trials and believe that it has the potential to transform corneal care in the future.”

The international project involved collaboration between scientists in Canada, the US, Belgium, Australia, Sweden and the UK.

The use of a synthetic gel rather than human tissue means that the procedure is less costly and the risk of immune rejection is lowered.

There is currently a shortage of donor corneas within the UK, with research by Fight for Sight and Optegra Eye Health Care revealing that eyes are the organ people are least likely to agree to donate.