Corneal diseases constitute the second leading cause of vision loss and affect more than 10 million people globally. As there is a severe shortage of fresh donated corneas and an unknown risk of immune rejection with traditional heterografts, it is very important and urgent to construct a corneal equivalent to replace pathologic corneal tissue. Corneal tissue engineering has emerged as a practical strategy to develop corneal tissue substitutes, and the design of a scaffold with mechanical properties and transparency similar to that of natural cornea is paramount for the regeneration of corneal tissues. Nanofibrous scaffolds produced by electrospinning have high surface area–to-volume ratios and porosity that simulate the structure of protein fibers in native extra cellular matrix (ECM). The versatilities of electrospinning of polymer components, fiber structures, and functionalization have made the fabrication of nanofibrous scaffolds with suitable mechanical strength, transparency and biological properties for corneal tissue engineering feasible. In this paper, we review the recent developments of electrospun scaffolds for engineering corneal tissues, mainly including electrospun materials (single and blended polymers), fiber structures (isotropic or anisotropic), functionalization (improved mechanical properties and transparency), applications (corneal cell survival, maintenance of phenotype and formation of corneal tissue) and future development perspectives.
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