According to the WHO, corneal damage from infections or inflammatory eye diseases is one of the leading causes of blindness worldwide, affecting around two million new patients every year. One possible way for patients with corneal blindness to regain their vision involves cornea transplants, but a shortage of donor tissue remains a big hurdle.
A recent medical development aims to overcome the problem of insufficient donors through a promising artificial type of corneal implant. Developed by a company called CorNeat, KPro is the first implant that can be integrated directly into the eyewall to replace damaged corneas without requiring any donor tissue.
As Engadget explains, while artificial cornea implants already exist for patients suffering from corneal blindness, because the surgeries are complex, they’re usually the last resort when transplants of cornea ring implants don’t work. By contrast, the CorNeat transplant is a relatively simple procedure that requires minimal stitching and cutting and takes no longer than an hour.
And the best thing about it? It has already restored the vision of its first inaugural patient — a legally blind 78-year old man who, immediately after surgery, was able to once again distinguish his family members and read numbers on an eye chart.
Currently, ten more patients are approved for trials in Israel, and the company plans to open two more this month in Canada, with six others in the approval process in France, the US, and the Netherlands.