Reversible glue could save soldiers' sight


May 7, 2014

A new adhesive gel could keep injured soldiers from losing their vision (Photo: Aiding our Allies)

A new adhesive gel could keep injured soldiers from losing their vision (Photo: Aiding our Allies)

When soldiers or other people sustain eye injuries, retinal detachment and vision loss can result if the eye's vitreous gel isn't kept from leaking out. Given that Band-Aids can't be placed directly on the eyeball, however, a team of scientists from the University of Southern California has created an alternative – reversible eye glue.

The solution is a polymer known as Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), or pNIPAM. It stays in a non-adhesive liquid state when cool, but becomes sticky and firm when warmed up by the body heat of the eye. This allows it to seal the wound while the patient is in transit, keeping the gel inside the eye.

Once the patient has reached a hospital, doctors simply apply a cool saline solution to the glue. This causes it to liquify again, so it can be harmlessly flushed out.

In tests performed on pig cadaver eyes, it was found to offer adhesion performance similar to that of cyanoacrylate, better-known as super glue ... which is definitely not something that should be applied to the eyes.

The USC scientists are presenting their research this week at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

Source: The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away. All articles by Ben Coxworth

It sounds to me that it would have a lot more uses than just the eyes.


@Slowburn.. Agreed.

Julie Long
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