3D-printed corneas could restore sight to millions

Other | Tuesday 5th June 2018 | David

In a potential breakthrough for treating millions of visually-impaired patients worldwide, researchers at Newcastle University have developed the first-ever 3D-printed human corneas.

The cornea is found on the outermost layer of the eye and is involved in focusing vision. Reportedly more than 15 million people currently require cornea transplants but the tissue is in short supply. The new technology involves the printing of a ‘bio-ink’ created from stem cells. Using a 3D bio-printer, this ‘ink’ can be used to create a scaffolding on which a usable cornea can be developed.

“Our 3D printed corneas will now have to undergo further testing and it will be several years before we could be in the position where we are using them for transplants,” reports Professor Che Connon, who led the project.

“However, what we have shown is that it is feasible to print corneas using coordinates taken from a patient eye and that this approach has potential to combat the worldwide shortage.”