Among the many benefits of 3D printing, from construction to retail, the impact that the technology can have on the medical industry is among the most important, and researchers from Newcastle University have developed a type of 'bio-ink' that shows just how powerful 3D printing can be. The researchers have managed to use this bio-ink to create 3D-printed human corneas, potentially ensuring an unlimited supply of the crucial element of the eye in the future.
The cornea is the outermost layer of the eye, and it's largely responsible for focusing vision. Infectious disorders that impact the cornea, such as trachoma, are relatively common, with an estimated 10 million cases worldwide. This, in turn, means that there is a significant shortage of donor corneas available. By enabling the 3D printing of corneas with bio-ink, the Newcastle University professors have created a simple and sustainable way to address that shortage.
Image Credit: Newcastle University