Carbon quantum dots as a dual platform for the inhibition and light-based destruction of collagen fibers: implications for the treatment of eye floaters

Alexandre Barras (a), Félix Sauvage (b), Inès de Hoon (ab), Kevin Braeckmans(b), Dawei Hua(b), Gaëtan Buvat(a), Juan C. Fraire(b), Christophe Lethien (a), J. Sebag (cd), Michael Harrington(e), Amar Abderrahmani(a), Rabah Boukherroub(a), Stefaan De Smedt (b) and Sabine Szunerits (a)

(a) Univ. Lille, CNRS, Centrale Lille, Univ. Polytechnique Hauts-de-France, UMR 8520 – IEMN, F-59000 Lille, France. E-mail:
(b) Laboratory of General Biochemistry and Physical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ghent University, 9000 Ghent, Belgium. E-mail:
(c)VMR Institute for Vitreous Macula Retina, Huntington Beach, California 92647, USA
(d) Doheny Eye Institute/UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90033, USA
(e) Huntington Memorial Research Institute, Pasadena, CA, USA

Common in myopia and aging, vitreous opacities arise from clumped collagen fibers within the vitreous body that cast shadows on the retina, appearing as ‘floaters’ to the patient. Vitreous opacities degrade contrast sensitivity function and can cause significant impairment in vision-related quality-of-life, representing an unmet and underestimated medical need. One therapeutic approach could be the use of versatile light-responsive nanostructures which (i) interfere with the formation of collagen fibers and/or (ii) destroy aggregates of vitreous collagen upon pulsedlaser irradiation at low fluences. In this work, the potential of positively and negatively charged carbon quantum dots (CQDs) to interfere with the aggregation of type I collagen is investigated. We demonstrate that fibrillation of collagen I is prevented most strongly by positively charged CQDs (CQDs-2) and that pulsedlaser illumination allowed to destroy type I collagen aggregates and vitreous opacities (as obtained from patients after vitrectomy) treated with CQDs-2.

Learn more in the journal Nanoscale Horizons