Thursday, September 09, 2010

Plastic Artificial Cornea Implants May Offer Hope for Blind Patients

ScienceDaily (June 8, 2010) — Donor corneas are a rarity: In Germany alone, each year roughly 7,000 patients wait for that miniscule piece of tissue. An implant made of plastic may soon offer patients – especially those facing their last resort – with the chance to see again.

For many patients who become blind after an accident or illness, a corneal transplantation could restore the ability to see. Each year, 40,000 people in Europe – in Germany, about 7,000 – await the opportunity to be able to see again, thanks to cornea donors. But donor corneas are not common.

Dr. Joachim Storsberg of the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam-Golm developed material and production process for a corneal prosthesis made of plastic. These can help patients who are unable to tolerate donor corneas due to the special circumstances of their disease, or whose donor corneas were likewise destroyed. In recognition of this accomplishment, Dr. Storsberg is being awarded the 2010 Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize.

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