Explained: Corneas bioengineered from pig collagen can restore sight, study finds

Source: The post is based on the articleExplained: Corneas bioengineered from pig collagen can restore sight, study finds published in Indian Express on 17th August 2022.

What is the News?

Researchers in Sweden have developed a successful alternative — bioengineered cornea implants made of collagen derived from pig skin. 

This implant was then used to successfully restore the vision of 20 people in India and Iran, most of whom were blind due to keratoconus, a disease that leads to thinning of the cornea.

What is Cornea?

The cornea is the clear outer layer at the front of the eye. The cornea helps the eye to focus light so that one can see clearly.

Damage to the cornea is one of the leading causes of blindness across the world leaving approximately 12.7 million people blind.

Researchers claim that there is a severe shortage of donated human corneas with only one available for 70 patients. Logistical and storage difficulties, along with expensive surgical equipment, further burden those living in low- and middle-income countries.

What have researchers developed to overcome this shortage?

As a substitute for human corneas, the researchers have developed a successful alternative — bioengineered cornea implants made of collagen derived from pig skin. 

Benefits: This method is not only cheaper and easier to access than donated corneas but requires a less invasive procedure and can be stored for a significantly longer period — up to two years.

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