Liu, Z., Liow, S.S., Lai, S.L. et al. Retinal-detachment repair and vitreous-like-body reformation via a thermogelling polymer endotamponade. Nat Biomed Eng 3, 598–610 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41551-019-0382-7
Internal-tamponade agents are crucial surgical adjuncts in vitreoretinal surgery. Clinically used endotamponade agents act through buoyancy forces, yet can result in prolonged post-operative positioning, temporary loss of vision, raised intra-ocular pressure, cataract formation or the need for additional removal surgery. Here, we describe a thermogelling polymer that provides an internal tamponade effect through surface tension and swelling counter-forces. We tested the long-term biocompatibility of the polymer endotamponade in rabbit vitrectomy models, and its surgical efficacy and biocompatibility in a non-human primate retinal-detachment model. We also show that, while the thermogel biodegrades during the three months following surgery, it promotes the reformation of a vitreous-like body that mimics the biophysical properties of the natural vitreous. The thermogelling endotamponade might serve as a long-term vitreous substitute.
This study was supported by Biomedical Engineering Programme (BEP) grant, A*STAR, Singapore (2014
POC/1521480032), NUS Start-up grant NUHSRO/2016/100/SU/01, and IAF-PP (HMBS Domain)
H17/01/a0/013 (OrBID): OculaR BIomaterials and Device. We would like to acknowledge the veterinary team
at Translational Pre-Clinical Model Platform (Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore) for providing
support in NHP surgery preparation and animal follow-up.