As we age, we have our “senior moments” when we can’t find our glasses .. and realize we can’t read the menu or the pill bottles any longer without them.. but it’s hard to imagine what it would be like to lose your vision – and the heartache for what you would miss seeing afterwards! Well, for 20 lucky people who were part of a pilot program, their vision was restored with a minimally invasive procedure using a bioengineered cornea implant made of collagen protein. With a shortage of donated human corneas to be used for transplantation, this new cornea is a major breakthrough.
You probably didn’t know that an estimated 12.7 million people around the world are blind due to their corneas being damaged or diseased. Up until now your only chance was to have a donated human cornea transplanted into the eye, and sewn into place – a rather invasive procedure followed by several years of medicine. However, with this new method a small incision is made, through which the implant is inserted into the existing cornea. There are no stitches, the tissue heals fast, and an eight-week treatment with immunosuppressive eye drops was enough to prevent rejection of the implant. Within the pilot program, 14 of the 20 patients were blind, and after 2 years, none of them were. In fact, 3 of the 14 who were blind prior to the study had perfect (20/20) vision after the operation!!
While there will need to be a larger study followed by regulatory approval, this procedure is great news for millions of people out there.. it is less invasive, costs less, is more accessible than the current wait list for donated human corneas, and heals quickly with stunning results. Read more here about what it is made of, and how This cornea restored vision to 20 people