A 3D printer has been used to create eye cells which researchers believe will help the search for a cure for blindness.

3D Printer Creates Eye Cells Fuelling Hope of Cure for Blindness

Experts at the University of Cambridge used inkjet printing technology to produce artificial tissue grafts made from a variety of cells found in the human retina.

Published in the journal IOP Science, the researchers say the cells provide proof that, in principle, a 3D printer can be used to print two types of cells from the retina of adult rats.

The cells were ganglion cells and glial cells. Ganglion cells transmit information from the eye to parts of the brain, while glial cells provide support and protection for neurons.

Researchers say this is the first time 3D printing technology has been used to create mature central nervous system cells, adding that the printed cells remained healthy and retained their ability to survive and grow in culture.

The team used a piezoelectric inkjet printer that ejected the cells through a sub-millimetre diameter nozzle. The cells were printed when a specific electrical pulse was applied.