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Synthetic eye prosthesis
Date:5/20/2010

This release is available in German.

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.

The miniscale artificial cornea has to meet almost contradictory specifications: On the one hand, the material should grow firmly together with the cells of the surrounding tissue; on the other hand, no cells should settle in the optical region of the artificial cornea - i.e., the middle - since this would again severely impair the ability to see. And: The outer side of the implant must be able to moisten with tear fluids, otherwise the implant will cloud up on the anterior side. This would consequently require the patient to get a new prosthesis after a relatively brief period of time. And: The outer side of the implant must be able to moisten with tear fluid, so that the eyelid can slide across it without friction. Dr. Storsberg found the solution with a hydrophobic polymer material. This material has been in use for a long time in ophthalmology, such as for intraocular lenses. In order for it to satisfy the various characteristics required, complex development steps were necessary. The material was thoroughly modified on a polymer-chemical basis, and subsequently re-teste
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Contact: Dr. Joachim Storsberg
joachim.storsberg@iap.fraunhofer.de
49-331-568-1321
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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