The University of Melbourne


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posted on 2024-06-17, 12:59 authored by Jaime Ruiz Montenegro VillaJaime Ruiz Montenegro Villa, Jaime Montenegro

This video highlights our innovative approach at Centre for Eye Research Australia to combat corneal endothelial blindness. Using stem cells from a single donor and a special hydrogel, we have created an artificial iCornea that could restore vision for millions. Follow Lucy’s journey as we explore how this breakthrough could bring hope and sight to those in need.



Lucy’s parents are trying to comfort her with her favourite meal after receiving the sad news. Last week, the doctor explained that Lucy’s corneas — the clear windows of her eyes — are damaged; and the only solution is to replace them with a transplant. But there’s a global shortage of donors — most people in need can’t get one! — and without a transplant, Lucy’s corneas will turn cloudy… As you can see — living with corneal blindness is no way to experience life.

But there is hope… At Centre for Eye Research Australia, instead of relying on cadaveric donations, we are creating artificial iCorneas using stem cells from a single living donor to help millions like Lucy. We began by transforming their stem cells into iCornea cells. Then, created a clear jelly-like hydrogel, and finally attached our cells on top of it to create the artificial iCornea… Our goal is to replace Lucy’s corneas with artificial ones. Folded like a burrito, they could be injected into the eye and slowly dissolve, allowing our cells to repair and restore vision. We believe that creating artificial iCorneas could restore vision for many like Lucy — bringing hope in sight.