Scientists have developed a model that mimics the complex structure of the cornea to enable the transplant of healthy corneal stem cells. The research is being presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) this week in Orlando Fla.
Used to restore sight, corneal stem cells live in a specific physical environment. Transplanting these stem cells requires accurate mimicry of their natural surroundings during transport. In this work, vision scientists have recreated the 3D architecture where corneal stem cells naturally reside.
The cornea is the transparent window at the front of the eye. When the outermost cell layer of the cornea is damaged, vision is severely impaired. Treatment can include a transplant of healthy corneal stem cells to replace the lost cells.