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New gel drops could be sight-savers

Thursday 17 January 2019

Scientists from the University of Birmingham have developed a fast-acting new eye gel which effectively repairs scarring to the cornea, providing an alternative to a risky corneal transplant.

Many people in the UK suffer corneal scarring as a result of pseudomonas aeruginosa, an eye infection commonly associated with poor contact lens hygiene. The current treatment is antibiotic eye drops followed by intensive lubrication to prevent further damage. Unfortunately, some patients are left with visual ‘hazing’ due to scars on the cornea. Surgery is then often the only option.

The scientists have developed the new eye drop which consists of a gel loaded with a natural wound-healing protein called Decorin. The gel itself transitions between a solid and liquid state, which means it is only slowly removed by blinking. The research has shown for the first time that the fluid gel has a therapeutic effect in its own right, forming a barrier that protects the surface of the eye from further damage.

The discovery could have a profound effect in third world countries where it could offer a sight-saving option for thousands who are not able to access surgical interventions.

Sources:

1.University of Birmingham News:
University of Birmingham develops sight-saving treatment for eye infection or trauma.

2.Daily Express:
Gel drops developed to save eyesight.

Labels:

Corneal Transplant, Decorin, vision loss

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