Closer to nature: new biomaterials and tissue engineering in ophthalmology
Ophthalmology has a long history of successful conventional biomaterial applications including viscoelastics, drug delivery vehicles, contact lenses, and a variety of implants. A myriad of further possibilities exists as the margins between conventional material concepts and natural tissues continue to blur, and biomaterials move closer to nature. Genetically engineered materials (for example, hyaluronic acid and fibrin tissue glues) harnessing the power and accuracy of biological systems in molecular synthesis are becoming commonplace. New synthetic surfaces capable of upregulating or downregulating biological responses at the tissue/material interface are starting to reach clinical application; and an emerging understanding of matrix/cell interactions may soon allow engineered replacement for a range of tissues in the eye.
Source: Br J Ophthalmol 1999;83:1235-1240 (November)