Thanks to a revolutionary new procedure, the vision of the blind has been restored. The cornea, the transparent front layer of the eye, was made from pig skin by scientists. A total of 20 patients with corneal diseases, 14 of whom were totally blind, received the implant. Three of the patients had “perfect 20/20 vision,” according to the research team at Linköping University (LiU), Sweden.
Over a two-year follow-up period, the patients made a speedy recovery and encountered no post-operative problems. Since it filters incoming light, the cornea plays a crucial role in eye health and vision. Vision loss and sensitivity to light may occur as a result of scarring or clouding of the cornea after injury or illness.
Around 12.7 million individuals, all around the globe, are blind because of corneal injury. Surgery to remove the diseased cornea and replace it with donor corneal tissue is an option if other therapies fail. Over 40,000 corneal transplants are done annually in the United States, but just 3,800 are done in England. However, corneas from the eyes of the recently departed are in limited supply. The cornea is the most often refused bodily organ for donation. About 10% of NHS organ donors have shown reluctance to give corneas.
Approximately 1 in 70 patients globally receives one, and the odds are much lower for individuals living in low-income areas, where corneal injury is most prevalent.
Even if they succeed, they may not be lucky if their bodies reject the cornea they received as a gift. Many people’s eyesight has been permanently damaged, but the new pig-made implant offers them fresh hope. Collagen, which is found in pig skin, is also present in human cornea. Collagen was isolated and shaped into a thin, sturdy film to stand in for a cornea.
Twenty patients participated in the pilot trial, which was conducted by surgeons in Iran and India, two nations with high rates of corneal blindness and impaired eyesight. All of them suffered from keratoconus, a condition characterized by the progressive thinning and uneven contouring of the cornea. Many people need a transplanted cornea because to this. The primary goal of the research was to determine if the implant was completely risk-free for human usage. Nonetheless, the implant had unexpected results, with participants’ eyesight enhancing in the same way it would have following a cornea transplant using donated human tissue.
A bigger investigation is required before the therapy may be employed on a widespread basis. Pig skin, however, is a by-product of the agricultural business that may serve as a simple and inexpensive substitute for the present options.