Scientists from Newcastle University, UK have created world’s first 3D printed human corneas (3D printed thin protective film over eye) that could solve problem of shortage of available eye donors and help millions of blind people gain sight again.
Cornea is outermost layer of the human eye. Its key function is to focus vision. It also barricades eyes against harmful dirt and bacteria. Damage to cornea from injury or infection can distort vision or even lead to blindness.
The 3D printed human corneas were produced using bio-ink solution consisting of healthy corneal stem mixed together with alginate and collagen. The combination of alginate (a gel derived from seaweed) and collagen helps to keep corneal stem cells alive and produces material of necessary dimensions which is stiff enough to hold its shape and soft enough to be squeezed out nozzle of 3D printer.