Worldwide, about 4.3 million people suffer from blindness due to defects in their corneas and 23 million are blind in one eye for the same reason. While in many cases their vision can be restored by transplantation, a shortage of human donor tissue means patients must often wait years for treatment. Enter Dr. May Griffith at the University of Ottawa. Working in partnership with Ottawa Hospital and Linköping University, she has developed artificial corneas, cast-moulded out of collagen and other artificial materials.
The corneas are designed to allow the patient’s own tissues to grow back and integrate the artificial tissues into the eye. This means there is no risk of rejection. These corneas identify a solution for conditions that cannot be treated with donated tissue and address a worldwide donor shortage.