Corneal injuries are common causes of visual impairment worldwide. Accordingly, there is an unmet need for transparent biomaterials that have high adhesion, cohesion, and regenerative properties. Herein, we engineer a highly biocompatible and transparent bioadhesive for corneal reconstruction using a visible light cross-linkable, naturally derived polymer, GelCORE (gel for corneal regeneration). The physical properties of GelCORE could be finely tuned by changing prepolymer concentration and photocrosslinking time. GelCORE revealed higher tissue adhesion compared to commercial adhesives. Furthermore, in situ photopolymerization of GelCORE facilitated easy delivery to the cornea, allowing for bioadhesive curing precisely according to the required geometry of the defect. In vivo experiments, using a rabbit stromal defect model, showed that bioadhesive could effectively seal corneal defects and induce stromal regeneration and re-epithelialization. Overall, GelCORE has many advantages including low cost and ease of production and use. This makes GelCORE a promising bioadhesive for corneal repair.
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