Nanofiber-Reinforced Hydrogels for the Stabilization of Open Globe Injuries

L. Costella, B. Brooks, K. Broderick, M. Gasbarre, L. Woodard, A. Eiseman, X. Wang, C.Tison
Luna Innovations, Inc., Virginia, United States

Keywords: nanofiber, fiber-reinforced, hydrogel, dressing, ocular

The frequency and severity of ocular injuries sustained in military conflicts continues to increase. Globe perforation injuries must be managed quickly to stabilize the eye until more permanent treatments can be applied to restore ocular function. Full-thickness corneal lacerations can be managed with sutures or adhesives, but larger injuries require the application of grafts or synthetic bandages. The development of a transparent, robust bandage with the ability to stabilize the ocular surface, maintain globe function and preserve visual acuity would be critical. In response to this need, Luna is developing hydrated, structurally-robust and optically-clear nanofiber-reinforced hydrogel dressings able to stabilize an injury with a water-tight seal. The dressings have the appropriate optical (transparency: 54-96% transparent), mechanical (strength: 15-19.5 MPa; toughness: 0.5-3.0 MPa), and biological properties for the application, according to target values determined from the survey responses of military and civilian physicians. Luna is beginning studies in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University to demonstrate the in vivo functionality of the product, and the potential for sutureless adhesion is also being explored via hydrogel chemistry modifications. The ability to leverage this technology and to implement unique materials solutions that enable rapid globe stabilization could revolutionize the treatment of severe ocular injuries.