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Millions could be saved from going blind or needing eye surgery thanks to a sight-saving glue.
The adhesive gel, developed by scientists, contains chemicals that when exposed to the light, seal cuts on the eye's surface.
Researchers hope the glue, which would come in an eye drop, could stop the need for so many corneal transplants. There is a worrying shortage of donors.
The cornea is a thin piece of tissue that can be easily damaged by injury or infection, sometimes by contact lenses or a fingernail.
About 4,000 cornea transplants are carried out each year in the UK alone, and around 117,000 in the US.
Study author Professor Reza Dana said: 'Our hope is this biomaterial could fill in a major gap in technology available to treat corneal injuries.'
In the lab, the glue worked within days to replicate the eye's surface.
As well as helping wounds to close, the substance - named GelCORE - also fuels the growth of new tissue.
Professor Dana said: 'We set out to create a material that is clear, strongly adhesive, and permits the cornea to not only close the defect, but also to regenerate.
'We wanted this material to allow the cells of the cornea to mesh with the adhesive and to regenerate over time to mimic something as close to the native cornea as possible.'
An eye infection or trauma on the surface of the eye can cause scarring - leading to blurring or complete vision loss.