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Study seeks to widen corneal transplant window
Date:10/19/2011

r death. And the excess supply of donated corneas in the U.S. about 20 percent annually - are shipped overseas where they are successfully transplanted more than a week after donation.

But there has been limited follow-up.

To convince U.S. corneal surgeons to change from their regular practice, successful transplantation in the second week needs to be proved, Lass said.

The result of doubling the window for corneal transplants will increase the pool of donated corneas and improve public health and safety, he said.

Patients who need corneal transplants are typically 50 and older. According to projections by the U.S. Census Bureau, that population will grow from about 99 million in 2010 to about 133 million by 2030 in this country.

While the number of patients will grow the number of potential donors is waning.

"All of these issues disqualify potential donors: food contamination, such as mad cow disease and the recent listeria outbreak in cantaloupe; the growing number and spread of infectious diseases such as HIV and West Nile virus and the tropical disease chikungunya, which have no cure; high-risk behaviors such as methamphetamine use - which is at epidemic levels in some parts of the country - IV drug use and imprisonment; the growing number of people diagnosed with Alzheimer's or other neurologic diseases of unknown origin; and the aging population itself, which is less suited to donate because corneas age and deteriorate;" explained Dr. Marian Macsai, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Chicago and chair of the Eye Bank Association of America. "Add them up and you've got a shrinking donor pool."

In addition to fewer donors to rely on, the growing list of disqualifiers requires greater scrutiny of the sources, Lass said. "We need more time to analyze the donor and test blood to ensure the safety of the recipient and quality of the cornea he or she receives."

The five-year st
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Contact: Kevin Mayhood
kevin.mayhood@case.edu
216-368-4442
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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