Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Eye-on-a-chip models the eye's outer layers and blinking

22 September 2019

Eye Blink

More happens in the blink of an eye than you might think. As the lid flashes down and up, it hydrates and protects your eyes, and creates a unique physiological environment. It's hard for researchers studying the eyes to create comparable situations to run tests on in the lab. A new approach has created an artificial eye structure complete with cells from the eye’s outer layers, the cornea (dyed yellow) and conjunctiva (red), tear ducts (blue), and a blinking eyelid (blue gelatin). Although lacking some of the eye’s natural cellular complexity, closely matching the physical environment makes this device a useful testing ground. It's already been used to investigate the effects of a new treatment for dry-eye syndrome without risking human or animal harm, raising hopes that by providing a testing ground the eye will help improve the outlook on everything from contact lenses to disease modelling.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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