A legally blind 78-year old man has regained his sight after being the inaugural patient to receive a promising new type of corneal implant, Israel Hayom has reported. Developed by a company called CorNeat, the KPro is the first implant that can be integrated directly into the eye wall to replace scarred or deformed corneas with no donor tissue. Immediately after the surgery, the patient was able to recognize family members and read numbers on an eye chart.
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.
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.