Health Discoveries in General Health News

Little corneas are getting big attention

October 28, 2009
A lot of attention is being paid to little "windows" that exist in everyone's eyes – the cornea, which controls light that enters the eye, helps it focus and shields it from harmful materials, such as germs and dust.

Through the federal National Eye Institute (NEI), one of the National Institutes of Health, research is ongoing on treatments that involve transplanting corneal cells from a patient's healthy eye to a diseased one to avert blindness, ways to eliminate corneal scarring and promote healing, and the link between genes and how they keep corneas healthy.

Researchers at North Shore University Hospital, a member of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, also are involved in corneal research through a study on regeneration of corneal nerves.

The purpose of the study is to find out whether the use of ProKera, a special contact lens that contains amniotic membrane to help heal damaged corneas, can be used to re-grow corneal nerves without the need for surgery.

The healing effect of ProKera – which is approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration – is assessed by using a confocal microscope, a non-invasive instrument that has been used to look at corneal nerves after eye surgery procedures such as LASIK.

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