Combating Eye Injuries With a Reversible Superglue Seal

Source: University of Southern California

Summary: Scientists and engineers have developed a temperature-sensitive gel that could seal eye injuries on-the-spot and prevent permanent loss of vision.

People who sustain traumatic eye injuries especially in battlefield require rapid treatment to prevent permanent deterioration or loss of vision. The current standard of care for this type of injuries is suturing the margins, which can be time-consuming and requires specialized training and equipment. To solve this problem, a multidisciplinary team of scientists and engineers from the University of Southern California have developed an injectable, temperature-sensitive synthetic hydrogel that acts a temporary sealant which changes from a fluid to a super-strong semi-solid when applied to the eye. After gelation, the sealant could be removed by adding cool water, so that the doctors can perform the surgery to permanently close the injury. The results of the study were published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Thermoresponsive sealant

Scientists and engineers at USC have developed an on-the-spot, temperature-sensitive gel that could seal eye injuries on the battlefield. Credit: N. Bayat et al., Science Translational Medicine (2017)

The smart thermoresponsive hydrogel sealant made of PNIPAM, poly (N-isopropylacrylamide), its unique property made it made it a natural fit for this application – The hydrogel became a liquid when cooled, which helps in easy application, and became a viscous semi-solid when heated up, helps in strong adhesion with some little tailoring. A special custom-designed temperature-controlled syringe was also developed for the application of hydrogel. To establish the material’s efficacy, the hydrogel was tested in an open globe injury of a rabbit and observed that the intraocular pressure inside the eye was preserved and no evidence of chronic inflammation or toxicity.

Asst. Prof. John J. Whalen said, “We were able to optimize the delivery device so that it not only rapidly cools the hydrogel but also holds it at that temperature, giving users a 10-minute window to fill penetrations in the eye”, “It’s very simple to use—almost like caulking a bathroom seal.”

More Information: N. Bayat et al., “A reversible thermoresponsive sealant for temporary closure of ocular trauma,” Science Translational Medicine (2017). … scitranslmed.aan3879

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