Keywords: cornea, eye, celluose, lens, nano-crystalline, medical
Summary:Diopter has developed a new nano-crystalline cellulose material that is being used in ophthalmic products to treat corneal scarring and other ocular conditions. Based on in vivo data the new material accelerates corneal healing at an increased rate over traditional corneal wound healing materials, such as silicon hydrogels or hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) bandage contact lenses. Eye injuries, both work-related and recreation-related, are responsible for over 2.4 million emergency room visits annually. In the battlefield environment, ocular injury is also highly prevalent, and is associated with significant pain, visual disability, decreased personnel availability, and excessive cost.6-9 Most battlefield injuries to the ocular surface are caused by particulate matter, such as sand or dirt that is generated by explosions, vehicles, or ordinance. Such injuries are very common and often cause severe pain and impaired vision that may last several days. Although the majority of injuries that affect only the ocular surface will eventually heal without causing permanent loss of vision, there is a significant risk of secondary infection and corneal scarring. In the civilian setting, when a corneal abrasion occurs, the patient is often treated with antibiotic ointment and an eye patch. However, if there is significant pain or the need to preserve the ability to work or drive, the patient can be seen emergently by an ophthalmologist or optometrist for the fitting of a soft contact lens over the injured eye. In this scenario, the contact lens acts like a bandage, protecting the cornea while reducing pain and permitting vision. Because such treatment is not feasible in a battlefield context, there is a significant need for an “ocular bandage” that could accomplish the same therapeutic goals. New materials for contact lenses that prevent dryness and discomfort, and further promote healing are critical for overcoming these long-time issues with standard lens materials.