Scientists at the University of Birmingham have developed a novel eye drop that rapidly reduces sight-threatening scarring to the surface of the eye.
The surface of the eye (the cornea) is usually transparent, but scars resulting from eye infection or trauma make it opaque leading to blurred vision or in extreme cases complete blindness.
Their pre-clinical research, published today (Friday 21 December 2018) in npj Regenerative Medicine, shows that within a matter of days the eye drop speeds healing, reduces scarring and enhances corneal transparency compared to the current standard of care for Pseudomonas aeruginosa, an eye infection commonly associated with poor contact lens hygiene.
The current standard of care for eye infection are eye drops containing antibiotics and corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, followed by intensive lubrication to prevent further damage to the eye during blinking. These treatments effectively sterilize the eye, although some patients are left with visual ‘hazing’ due to scars on the cornea.
The only option to correct this is costly and cumbersome surgical interventions, such as corneal transplants, which are fraught with risks of failure or rejection.
The Birmingham scientists, led by Professor Liam Grover from the University’s School of Chemical Engineering and Professor Ann Logan from the University’s Institute of Inflammation and Ageing, allow us the eye drop which involves a fluid skin gels full of a natural wound-healing protein called Decorin.
Mentor Ann Logan said: “This impressive fluid gel in the eye drop is built to retain the Decorin on the surface of the eye, and form a ‘therapeutic bandage’ that stimulates scarless healing. ”
Mentor Liam Grover explained: “The fluid gel is a novel material that can transition between a reliable and liquid state. This specific means it contours itself to the top of eye, is retained there, and is simply slowly removed by flashing. ”
This studies have shown for the first time that the fluid skin gels has a therapeutic result in its own right, and the researchers consider it forms a safety barrier that protects the surface of the attention from further damage brought on by blinking. The smooth gel has been copyrighted by University of Liverpool Enterprise.
Dr Richard Moakes, also from the Institution of Chemical Engineering discussed: “We are now continuous our work to test and refine the ingredients just for this novel anti-scarring attention ‘bandage’. ”
Dr Mack Hill, from the University’s Institute of Clinical Savoir, said: “The anti-scarring attention drop has the prospective to vastly improve final results for patients with attention infection and trauma. That could also help save many people’s sight, specifically in the developing world where surgical interventions such as corneal transplants are not available. “