Artificial cornea implants already exist for patients with corneal degeneration, but because the surgeries are complex, they’re usually a last resort when transplants or cornea ring implants don’t work. By contrast, inserting the CorNeat transplant is a relatively simple procedure that requires minimal stitches and cutting. On top of that, it uses a biomimetic material that “stimulates cellular proliferation, leading to progressive tissue integration,” according to CorNeat.
A very cool animation (above) shows exactly how this works, with the end result that the device is fully transplanted inside the eye wall. “Fibroblasts and collagen gradually colonize the integrating skirt and full integration is achieved within weeks, permanently embedding the device within the patient’s eye,” according to CorNeat. That allows for improved visual acuity and “exceptionally fast healing times,” and it looks fairly natural, to boot.
The company said that ten more patients are approved for trials in Israel. It plans to open two more this month in Canada, with six others in the approval process in France, the US and the Netherlands. While the implant doesn’t contain any electronics, it could help more people than any robotic eye. “After years of hard work, seeing a colleague implant the CorNeat KPro with ease and witnessing a fellow human being regain his sight the following day was electrifying and emotionally moving, there were a lot of tears in the room,” said CorNeat Vision co-founder Dr. Gilad Litvin.