One Donor Cornea Could Treat Multiple Patients

Mar. 23 --

WEDNESDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- One cornea from a donor can benefit three patients with eye disease or damage, says a report in the April issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

The cornea is the clear membrane that covers the front of the eye. Surgeons don't need to transplant entire corneas. They can remove and transplant only diseased sections of the cornea.

"Such surgical techniques provide an opportunity to make use of a single donor cornea in more than one patient," wrote the report authors, who conducted the surgeries at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.

They used one cornea from a 44-year-old donor who died of cardiac arrest to help three patients: a 40-year-old man with a degenerative cornea disease that affected the front two-thirds of the corneal tissue; a 60-year-old man who developed complications following cataract surgery; and a 5-year-old boy who had chemical burns in his right eye.

All the procedures were performed in one day, and all were successful.

"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 wrote.

For example, 300,000 donor corneas are needed each year in India, but only 15,000 are available.

More information

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has more about corneal transplants.

SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, April 9, 2007