Surface Modification of Polymers for Artificial Corneas
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9 Linnell Circle, Billerica, MA, 01821
AbstractOpacification of the normally transparent cornea is among the leading causes of blindnessworldwide. Often vision can be restored by corneal transplantation but the procedure requires theavailability of a) suitable human corneal donor tissue; and b) a sophisticated eye banking system. It isfurther limited by the potential to transmit diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis. A significant advancewould be the availability of an artificial cornea. Among other properties, such a device must have asurface that promotes rapid re-epithelialization. A significant advance has been the development of asynthetic cornea model consisting of a transparent hydrogel center and a porous peripheral web. Withthis device it has been demonstrated that stromal keratocytes migrate into the porous web andsynthesize extracellular matrix proteins that anchor the device to adjacent recipient cornea. While thecentral hydrogel optic has desired optical and mechanical properties, its surface will not supportre-epithelialization without modification. We will use rf-plasma technology to modify the surfaceproperties of the anterior surface of the hydrogel and determine the modification conditions that will bestsupport continuous epithelial adherence, growth, and the deposition of an extracellular matrix in vitroand in vivo.
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