Every year, in Germany alone, around 7000 people wait for a new cornea to save their eyesight. But donor corneas are in short supply. In an EU project, researchers have developed an artificial cornea which is to be clinically tested in early 2008.
A patient whose cornea is damaged through a congenital malformation, hereditary disease or corrosion is at risk of going blind. One solution is to implant a donor cornea. The central part of the natural cornea is removed in a circular fashion, and the new cornea is inserted and sutured in place. A vast number of patients are affected: every year, 40,000 people in Europe alone hope for a donor – often in vain.