Corneas and Transplants
Dedicated to tissue safety, LEBWCO maintains stringent standards for qualifying corneas for transplant. Our commitment to tissue safety begins with donor screening, including a review of medical records, a donor risk assessment interview, and examination of the body. We also review autopsy results when available. An extensive panel of blood tests are also performed to rule out a variety of potentially harmful infections.
LEBWCO is fully accredited by the Eye Bank Association of America and is in compliance with all U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations. A highly-trained Quality Assurance Director and Medical Director provide ongoing oversight of the program.
Cornea transplants are one of the most common human transplant procedures. According to the EBAA there were more than 46,000 transplants performed in 2011. The need for corneal tissue is never satisfied. In cornea transplantation, the damaged cornea is replaced with a healthy, donated tissue. Surgeons refer to a standard cornea transplant as Penetrating Keratoplasty.
NEW TECHNIQUES BRING BETTER VISION
In recent years, new cornea transplant procedures have been developed that replace only the damaged layer of cells instead of the entire thickness of the cornea in some patients. These surgical techniques are known as Endothelial Keratoplasty (EK) cornea transplants. Currently the most common is DSEK, but DMEK is a new innovative surgery that is gaining popularity. These new EK Surgeries offer better patient outcomes and faster healing times. In the DSEK procedure, damaged cells are removed from the recipient’s cornea, then a layer of the donated cornea is folded over and slipped into place through a small incision. DMEK is similar to DSEK in regards to the patient, but is very different for processing as it is a much thinner graft.
Since 2009, corneas used for Penetrating Keratoplasty transplants have declined. While over the same time period corneas used for Endothelial Keratoplasty have increased. LEBWCO continues to remain on the cutting edge of eye-banking by performing DSEK for transplantation.