• Hydrogel patch to treat retinal detachment
Monday, 14 December, 2020
IQS Tech Transfer

Vitrectomy is a microsurgery procedure for the eye which removes the vitreous humour when the patient has poor vision. After the surgical procedure is finished, the eye socket must be filled in and sealed to prevent ocular collapse, as the humour that has been removed cannot regenerate. Currently, inert gases and silicone oil are used for retinal adhesion. These elements have a propensity to cause complications such as high blood pressure, cataracts, and, in the case of silicone oil, emulsification, migration of the anterior chamber, and retinal and optic nerve toxicity. As an additional limitation, the procedure requires a second surgery.

That is why new surgical procedures that will revolutionise the clinical treatment of retinal detachment are sorely needed for the immediate future.


The RETIPATCH Project aims to develop a new “blocking agent” to be used at the end of vitrectomies in the case of retinal detachment. The project is led by researchers of the Department of Ophthalmology of the Germans Trias i Pujol Science Research Institute Foundation (IGTP) and features the participation of the GEMAT (Materials Engineering Group) Research Group at IQS, led by Dr Salvador Borrós and Dr Cristina Fornaguera.

The new retinal patch is based on a new non-toxic, easy-to-implement, biocompatible material, and does not require a second surgical procedure to be removed. Additionally, the material must be transparent and have suitable permeability to water and oxygen. Concerning biocompatibility, one of the greatest challenges is controlling the inflammatory reaction that may be induced by the agent, which in turn can alter both its stability as well as the function of the intraocular structures.

Heat-sensitive hydrogels have the property of being liquid at low temperatures and becoming a gel with increasing temperature. The development of these heat-sensitive hydrogels within the RETIPATCH project will allow researchers to design an ambient temperature formulation that can be adapted to the eye’s temperature with proper adhesion in the retina. The material will have a sealing effect and will be reabsorbed once the retinal detachment is resolved.

CaixaImpulse Programme

RETIPATCH forms part of the projects that make up the CaixaImpulse Validate 2019 programme.

CaixaImpulse is an initiative promoted by la Caixa and Caixa Capital Risc, with the collaboration of the EIT Health European initiative, which seeks to transfer the results of innovative research projects in healthcare and medical sciences to society, providing support to the commercial development of important healthcare innovations emerging from universities and hospital centres. As such, the projects are aimed at the assessment and commercialisation of protected or protectable assets resulting from research.

The RETIPATCH Project has received funding and support from the “la Caixa” Foundation thanks to CaixaImpulse subsidy <CI20-00228>.