Biomimetic vitreous substitute with ocular drug delivery

Methods and compositions for an antioxidant releasing hydrogel vitreous substitute

The Need

The vitreous humor is a fragile, transparent tissue between the lens and the retina of the eye that maintains the shape of the eye, acts as a shock absorber, and enables nutrient diffusion to ocular tissues. The vitreous also plays a key role in oxygen homeostasis. Over time, the vitreous degrades, which compromises its function. Currently, people may undergo a vitrectomy operation that removes the vitreous and replaces the vitreous with silicone oil. This disrupts oxygen homeostasis, which may lead to cataracts, and may require the patent to lie face down for weeks to avoid retinal damage. Other corrective measures pose the same risk, and researchers have not previously found substitutes to solve this issue. Since the FDA has not approved a substitute since 1994, there is a need for a safe vitreous substitute.

The Technology

Ohio State researcher Dr. Katelyn Swindle-Reilly and her team have created a vitreous substitute composed of copolymeric hydrogels that have similar properties as the natural vitreous humor. The hydrogel is an injectable substance that is used after vitreoretinal surgery. This hydrogel has the potential to eliminate the need for postoperative patient compliance. Therapeutics have been loaded in the hydrogel to prevent post-surgical cataract.

Commercial Applications

  • Ophthalmology
  • Surgical operations for retinal diseases


  • Similar properties as the natural vitreous humor
  • Eliminates need for postoperative patient compliance
  • Decreases postoperative occurrences of cataracts

Research Interests

The Ohio State University laboratory that developed this technology has expertise in the design of polymeric biomaterials for soft tissue repair and drug delivery with focused applications in ophthalmology and wound healing. They specialize in polymer synthesis, mechanical characterization, cell-material interactions, and controlled release. The lab is focused on engineering biomimetic polymers that have properties similar to the native tissue to improve wound healing and outcomes after ophthalmic surgery and is open for collaboration for further products and investigational routes.

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