For the first time, corneas created in the lab have been successfully transplanted and have the potential to restore sight to millions of visually impaired people waiting for transplants from human donors, researchers say.

“This is the first time we have been able to regenerate a cornea in humans,” said researcher May Griffith, PhD, of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. “We are still in the prototype stage, but this shows that regenerating a human cornea is possible.”

More than 10 million people worldwide have impaired vision or blindness due to corneal damage, but only a small number are able to receive transplants from cadaver donors.  Synthetic corneal replacements that are made from standard plastic are currently available but are only an option for a small percentage of those in need.

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