Around 10 million people worldwide suffer from a clouding of the cornea known as corneal dystrophy. Treatment for advanced cases usually involves a corneal transplant, but human donor tissue is hard to obtain.
Now scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research have developed an artificial cornea. The material poses quite a challenge: at the edge the implant must attach to the surrounding tissue, but in the center it must remain transparent. First tests on patients have been successful. Although the artificial cornea is not as good as a natural one, it enables patients to see the world again.