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Joaquin Silvestre, Shihao Chen, Zheng Zheng, Alfredo Vega, Tong Chen, Francisco Rodríguez-Reinoso, Pin Zhu, Shuang Zeng, Yaru Zheng, Fangjun Bao, Yong Liu, Jorge L. Alió; Carbon Nanostructures for Ocular Tissue Reinforcement. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2022;11(9):1. https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.11.9.1.
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The purpose of this study was to improve the biomechanical properties of the cornea through the incorporation of carbon nanostructures.
Healthy Japanese rabbits were used to evaluate the effect of carbon nanostructures’ incorporation in the cornea. Rabbits were divided in two groups A and B. In each of these groups, the corneas were divided in (i) corneas not submitted to any treatment (the control group), (ii) corneas modified either with carbon nanostructures (group A), or with the traditional cross-linking technology (group B). After modification, rabbits were euthanized at different time intervals. The biomechanical properties of the treated corneas were evaluated using the inflation method.
Biomechanical tests based on the inflation method show that the incorporation of carbon nanostructures to the cornea and their proper distribution within it gives rise to a large improvement in the mechanical properties and tangential elastic modulus (up to 155%). These results anticipate that this novel and easy approach based on nanotechnology is able to compete with the actual cross-linking technology applied in clinical ophthalmology using a photosensitive molecule, such as riboflavin and unpleasant UV-A radiation.
The incorporation of carbon nanostructures (single-walled carbon nanotubes and graphene) in corneal stroma is proposed as a promising alternative to improve the mechanical properties in the treated eyes. The proper dispersion of the carbon nanostructures a few days after implementation (down to 60 micrometers depth) explains the successful results achieved.
Nanotechnology applied to the eye constitutes a promising approach for ocular tissue reinforcement.
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