Gelatin has been used for many years in pharmaceutical formulation, cell culture and tissue engineering on account of its excellent biocompatibility, ease of processing and availability at low cost. Over the last decade gelatin has been extensively evaluated for numerous ocular applications serving as cell-sheet carriers, bio-adhesives and bio-artificial grafts. These different applications naturally have diverse physical, chemical and biological requirements and this has prompted research into the modification of gelatin and its derivatives. The crosslinking of gelatin alone or in combination with natural or synthetic biopolymers has produced a variety of scaffolds that could be suitable for ocular applications. This review focuses on methods to crosslink gelatin-based materials and how the resulting materials have been applied in ocular tissue engineering. Critical discussion of recent innovations in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine will highlight future opportunities for gelatin-based materials in ophthalmology.
Keywords: biocompatibility; cornea; gelatin; ophthalmology; retinal epithelium; tissue engineering.