Single Donor Cornea Can Help Two Patients

Doctors in Germany, led by Ludwig M. Heindl, M.D. of Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nurnberg, have published a study in this month’s issue of Ophthalmology demonstrating that a single donor cornea can help two different recipients.

Not all cornea transplant recipients need the full thickness of the donor cornea, of which Dr. Heindl and colleagues took advantage. They split the donor corneas into two layers—the anterior lamella and the endothelium-Descemet’s membrane.

The first layer, the anterior lamella was then transplanted onto the eyes of a patient suffering from keratoconus. This type of corneal transplant is known as a deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty, or DALK.

Next, the second layer was transplanted into a different patient who had Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy. This surgery is called Descemet’s stripping endothelial keratoplasty (DSEK).

This resourceful approach may have very positive implications for the future of corneal transplant surgery, allowing patients with different eye diseases and conditions to receive separate transplants from the same cornea. This should hopefully reduce the wait time for donor corneas and reduce the overall cost of cornea transplantation.

To learn more about corneal transplants or to get treatment for a cornea condition that affects your vision, please contact a local ophthalmologist today and set up a consultation.