Dvice points us to a new kind of artificial cornea developed by researchers at Stanford University published in May this year. The polymer-based cornea has not been tested in humans, but has shown promise in animal studies.
Developed by chemical engineer Curtis W. Frank, PhD, the cornea is made of two interwoven polymer gels, similar to the materials used in soft contact lenses. One layer is exceptionally strong while the other is able to absorb a tremendous amount of water. The result is a transparent, highly permeable substance with a water content similar to that of the natural cornea.
It's estimated that 10 million people worldwide suffer from blindness due to corneal disease. It's still early days though, the search for a safe and effective artificial cornea goes back as far as the French Revolution.