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A Human Model to Test Implants for Cataract Surgery 2019-01-09

Researchers at the University of East Anglia in collaboration with Hoya Surgical Optics have improved a laboratory model that simulates cataract surgery on human donor eyes. Their latest human model allows evaluation of artificial intraocular lens (IOL) implants under conditions that better reflect the post-surgical environment. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens and affects millions worldwide. At present, the only way of treating cataract is with surgery and it is estimated that by 2020, more than 30 million such operations will be performed annually.

During cataract surgery, the eye’s cloudy natural lens is removed and replaced with an IOL. Initially, outcomes from cataract surgery are superb, but a haziness known as Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO) can develop in a significant number of patients following surgery.

At the moment the only treatment for PCO is laser surgery - which is expensive and not without risks. There is, therefore, a need for better understanding the physiological events driving PCO and to better manage the condition. The human capsular bag model was pioneered at UEA in the 1990s and has progressively evolved with time.

Lead researcher Prof Michael Wormstone, from UEA’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “Our model now mimics the transient nature of inflammation that patients experience after cataract surgery. It is more reflective of clinical events and allows comparative evaluation of different types of IOLs.

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