A two-layer composite material composed of a thin-layer of corneal tissue and a synthetic polyethylene oxide (PEO) hydrogel is described. The material is designed to provide a suitable substrate for corneal epithelial cell growth while maintaining the desirable characteristics of hydrogels, i.e. clarity, flexibility, and ability to allow diffusive flow of nutrients. The gels are synthesized via electron irradiation induced crosslinking of an aqueous solution of PEO onto a thin layer of collagenous tissue substrate. light microscopic studies indicate that the interface between the corneal tissue and PEO gel appears well adherent with no gaps in the interface. SEM studies of the material surface show an architecture similar to that of normal corneal tissue. Surface analytical techniques were used to identify amino-acids covalently bound to the gel at the gel/collagen interface after the proteinaceous material was removed. ESCA survey scans identified the presence of nitrogen on exposed gel/collagen interfaces and amino acid labelling confirmed the presence of amino acids. ATR-IR studies identifed increased absorption for the gel collagen interfaces at 1640 cm− 1 and 1540 cm−1 indicative of bound amino acids.