Challenges met to produce a polymer-based artificial cornea

Article

A polymer-based corneal prosthesis has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP), Postdam-Golm, as part of the EU's Artificial Cornea project.

A polymer-based corneal prosthesis has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP), Postdam-Golm, as part of the EU’s Artificial Cornea Project.

To create the cornea cells of the surrounding tissue have to bond to the outer edge of the implant but no cells should adhere to the centre or vision would be impaired. It also had to be possible to wet the outer surface of the implant with tears to enable the patient to see through the artificial cornea and to allow the lid slide over it without friction.

To overcome these challenges the implant was coated in several polymers while also using a special protein at the edges, allowing the implant to bond with the naturally surrounding cells resulting in greater stability. For the outer surface of the artificial cornea a water-repellent material already in use in ophthalmic IOLs was applied.

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