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An assistant professor of bioengineering at the University of California-Riverside has developed an adhesive that rapidly integrates corneal cells to speed healing and reduce the chances of secondary infection.
The breakthrough by Iman Noshadi also reduces complications that increase the risk, cost, and healing time of eye injuries and corneal transplants.
Of the 2.4 million eye injuries annually in the United States, 600,000 are open globe corneal tears, leading to blindness in some cases. There are also around 40,000 corneal grafting procedures performed each year.
The current standards of care for corneal repair are sutures and cyanoacrylate glue, both of which are associated with complications and costs, during and after the procedure.
Sutures, used for larger tears and grafting, can cause astigmatism, vascularization, and infections. Cyanoacrylate glue, which is not FDA approved, can be used only for tiny perforations, has low biocompatibility, cytotoxicity, opacity, and causes infections and cataract – all needing additional care and cost.
"There is no FDA-approved material platform to replace the present techniques for corneal repair effectively," said Noshadi. "Our technology addresses all these issues, resulting in reduced operative and post-operative costs."
The UC Riverside product should solve these secondary problems with its biocompatibility, high adhesion, flexibility, and high strength. It will not accidentally loosen or fall off and its antimicrobial properties will help prevent infections. Because the adhesive is transparent, it will help restore vision more quickly, as well.