A 78-year-old man regained his sight after being the first patient to receive a new type of synthetic corneal implant, according to Israel Hayom, cited by Engadget. Developed by a company called CorNeat, KPro is the first implant that can be directly integrated into the wall of the eye to replace a problem cornea without requiring donor tissue. Immediately after the operation, the patient was able to recognize his family members and read the numbers on an eye chart.
Artificial corneal implants already exist for patients with corneal degeneration, but because the operations are complex, it is a last resort when a transplant or implant with corneal rings does not work.
However, the insertion of the CorNeat transplant is a relatively simple procedure, requiring less intervention, using a biomimetic material that “stimulates cell proliferation, leading to progressive tissue integration” according to CorNeat.
The exact mechanism can be seen in the animation below, resulting in the complete integration of the device into the wall of the eye. “Full integration is achieved within a few weeks and the device remains permanently in the patient’s eye,” says CorNeat. This leads to better visual acuity and allows for “extraordinarily fast healing times” and a fairly natural appearance.
CorNeat says another 10 patients have received approval for the implant in Israel and plans to get approval for two more people in Canada in the near future and another 6 in France, the United States and the Netherlands. Although the implant does not contain electronic parts, it can help people more than a robotic eye. “After years of work, seeing a colleague easily implant KPro and a man regain his sight the next day was an emotional moment, there were many tears in the room,” said CorNeat Vision co-founder Dr. Gilad Litvin.
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