Faux eyeball surface could be used to test treatments for eye diseases
AUSTIN, Texas — A new artificial organ gives a new meaning to the phrase “making eyes.”
For the first time, researchers used human cells to build a model of the surface of the eye that’s equipped with a fake eyelid that mimics blinking. This synthetic eye could be used to study and test treatments for eye diseases, researchers reported February 16 in a news conference at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
This artificial eye surface could help researchers study dry eye disease, a condition that affects an estimated 16 million adults in the United States. People with dry eye disease don’t produce enough tears or fail to make tears with the proper chemical composition to keep their eyes hydrated. Huh’s team could give the organ the symptoms of dry eye disease by making it blink less frequently, so the device could be used to test the safety and effectiveness of new eye drop medications.
This kind of artificial organ may also be used to study other eye injuries, like corneal ulcers, Huh said.
D. Huh. Replicating organs to fill gaps in precision medicine. American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting, Austin, Texas, February 16, 2018.