One donor cornea may be divided and transplanted into multiple patients with eye disease or damage, opening up the possibility of optimal use of available donor corneal tissue and will reduce the backlog of patients with corneal blindness in countries in which there is a dearth of good-quality donor corneal tissue.
The report published in the April issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
Transplantation of the cornea, the clear membrane that covers the front of the eye, was first performed in 1905, according to background information in the article.
Recent developments have allowed ophthalmologic surgeons to move from transplanting the entire cornea in every patient to more focused operations that involve removing and replacing only the diseased or damaged portion of the cornea.
“Such surgical techniques provide an opportunity to make use of a single donor cornea in more than one patient,” the authors write.
Rasik B. Vajpayee, M.S., F.R.C.S., F.R.A.N.Z.C.O., then of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and now of the University of Melbourne, East Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues used one cornea from a 44-year-old donor who had died of cardiac arrest to complete transplants in three patients. The corneal tissue was divided into three parts.
“Our strategy of using a single donor corneal tissue for multiple patients opens up the possibility of optimal use of available donor corneal tissue and will reduce the backlog of patients with corneal blindness in countries in which there is a dearth of good-quality donor corneal tissue,” the authors write. This includes India, where 300,000 donor corneas are needed each year but only 15,000 are available, with almost half of those unsuitable for transplantation. “With more corneal surgeons converting to techniques of customized component corneal transplantation in the form of anterior and posterior lamellar disc corneal transplantation, the use of a single donor cornea in more than one patient may become standard surgical practice.”