Over 12 million people across the globe are blind due to damaged corneas or disease. One way to restore vision is through a transplant from a deceased human donor, but they’re few and far between as only 1 in 70 patients receive one. According to a recent NBC News article, the solution could be pigskin. A team of researchers successfully restored sight in 14 blind people by implanting corneas made from a collagen protein found in pigskin.
The patients in the study were all from Iran or India, and suffered from keratoconus, a condition that causes the cornea to degrade and bulge outward over time. Fourteen of the patients were blind prior to the procedure, but regained some or all of their vision two years later. The study could be a game changer for people with keratoconus and other forms of corneal disease.