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A corneal transplant is an operation in which a patient receives the cornea of ​​a dead donor. The cornea forms the outer layer of the eye and makes an important contribution to vision. Clouding, as occurs after severe corneal inflammation or injury or morbid bulges can therefore lead to vision loss. To restore the function of the eye, the patient requires a corneal transplant.

If the ophthalmologist has discovered the need for a corneal transplant, a matching graft will be sought in a so-called eye bank of the eye clinics. But not everyone can be transplanted immediately, the demand exceeds the supply significantly. The actual surgery is done either in local anesthesia or under general anesthesia.

Even with a cornea transplantation there is a risk of a rejection reaction when the immune system fights the foreign tissue. This can lead to renewed cloudiness and vision loss. Medications can prevent this reaction.

The operation can be performed in the hospital or on an outpatient basis. The surgical procedure is relatively simple: First, the doctor cuts the cloudy spot out of the patient's cornea. Then he punches out a matching disc from the donor cornea, places it in the gap and sutures it. In most cases, not the entire cornea but only the central part is transmitted around the pupil.

Basically, the procedure can be performed under local anesthesia, but most ophthalmologists recommend general anesthesia because it reduces the risk of sudden eye movements. The threads are pulled only after twelve to 18 months, since the wounds in cornea transplants heal very slowly.

If there was no inflammation on the eye before, the new cornea heals without pain after surgery. However, if the eye was severely inflamed, there may still be pain in the course of time, but it may eventually disappear with painkillers.

GermanMedicalGroup + 49 (7221) 39-65-785 Flugstrasse 8a
76532 Baden-Baden
Germany
A cornea transplant is an operation used to remove all or part of a damaged cornea and replace it with healthy cornea tissue from the eye of a suitable donor. 2020-03-10 Corneal Transplantation

Latest News in Corneal Transplantation

Good results in bullous keratitis after grafting of corneal endothelial cells

20.09.2021

In a pilot study with 11 people, the bullous keratitis of the cornea of ​​the eye was successfully treated by transplanting endothelial cells from a donor while simultaneously administering the Rho-associated protein kinase to the anterior chamber, and vision was improved by two lines after 24 weeks.

Some diseases of the cornea of ​​the eye are caused by dysfunctional endothelial cells. This is also the case with Fuchs endothelial dystrophy, where insufficient humidification leads to clouding of the cornea, blistering (bullous keratitis) and loss of vision. The standard therapy would be a corneal transplant. With the transplantation of endothelial cells, the authors hope for a less invasive procedure.

The study with 11 people diagnosed with bullous keratitis and a complete loss of endothelial endothelial cells was carried out without control. The cells were taken from the cornea of ​​a young donor, cultivated in the laboratory and, together with an inhibitor of Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK), injected into the anterior chamber after the remnants of the degenerated endothelial cells had been scraped away. The primary study objective was to restore corneal transparency to a density of at least 500 cells per square millimeter in the center of the cornea 24 weeks after surgery.

Half a year after the operation, the targeted minimum density of 500 cells per square millimeter in the center of the cornea was achieved in all 11 recipients. In 10 recipients, the density was over 1000 cells / square millimeter.

The secondary study goal of a corneal thickness of less than 630 µm was achieved for 10 of 11 transplant recipients.

The second secondary study objective, an improvement in vision in the treated eye by at least two lines, was achieved in 9 of 11 patients.

This pilot study was successful but only had 11 patients. It is a first step towards a comparatively simple and less invasive procedure that could replace corneal transplantation as a therapy for endothelial dystrophies if independent replication is possible and long-term side effects can be ruled out with greater certainty.

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