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Artificial cornea offers better results for infants, some blind patients

Infants and adults who are blind due to a cloudy or damaged cornea are seeing some remarkable results thanks to a new version of an artificial implant that takes the place of the cornea, the clear covering of the eye that serves as our window on the world.

The results of operations involving the first infants and children in the world to receive the device, performed by physicians at the University of Rochester Eye Institute and a colleague at Johns Hopkins University, are being announced at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Las Vegas.

The results, though based on a small number of patients, point to a new option for dramatically improving the vision of a group of people for whom traditional cornea transplants usually fail. The new work, supported in part by Research to Prevent Blindness, mirrors similar success in adult patients that was reported by the Rochester team this summer.

The latest study involved a plastic device known as the Boston Keratoprosthesis, an artificial cornea used by just a few doctors in the world to treat children who can't see because their corneas are opaque. Usually the cornea serves as a clear window, but in some children, it's as if a dark, opaque shade has been pulled over that window due to conditions like glaucoma, congenital anomalies, or previous cornea surgeries.

In Las Vegas, Rochester doctors showed that the Boston device seems to be very effective in infants and children from six weeks to 13 years old, restoring vision and putting an end to long cycles of eye operations that dog many patients who have needed a cornea transplant.

The study included 17 children who collectively had been through more than 100 surgical procedures, including 39 traditional cornea transplants that had failed, before the latest implant. In the new study, two of the children received another type of artificial implant that failed, while 15 received the Boston device. All 15 of
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Source:University of Rochester Medical Center


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