A smart glue could fill cuts in the outer eyeball sustained during battle, protecting the eye until the wound can be stitched by someone skilled in microsurgery.
“Each day that no intervention is taken, the risk of permanent vision loss increases,” says Jack Whalen of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
His team has a solution: an isopropylacrylamide glue that is a liquid at temperatures lower than 25°C, but when it is squirted into an eyeball wound, the higher body temperature solidifies it within two minutes.
When the injured person gets to a surgeon, the glue can be removed by cooling it down with water.
Bayat, N., Zhang, Y., Falabella, P., Menefee, R., Whalen III, J.J., Humayun, M.S. & Thompson, M.E. (2017) A reversible thermoresponsive sealant for temporary closure of ocular trauma. Science Translational Medicine. 9(419), pp.e3879. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aan3879.
New Scientist (2017) A glue to spray onto injured eyeballs. New Scientist. 16 December 2017, pp.19.