Synthetic onlays that are implanted onto the surface of the cornea have the potential to become an alternative to spectacles and contact lenses for the correction of refractive error. A successful corneal onlay is dependent on development of a biocompatible polymer material that will maintain a healthy cornea after implantation and that will promote growth of corneal epithelial cells over the onlay, and development of a method for attachment of the onlay with minimal surgical invasiveness. The ideal onlay should be made of a material that is highly permeable yet has sufficient surface characteristics to stimulate stable and firm attachment of the corneal epithelium over the onlay. Recent research indicates that collagen I coated polymer materials that mimic the basement membrane of the corneal epithelium promote the most favorable growth of epithelial cells in vivo in comparison to wholly biological or synthetic materials.

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