Cornea: Beyond Keratoplasty
Cornea transplants were envisioned for treatment of blinding disease in the late 1700’s, and
became a reality in the late 1940’s. 2010 statistics from the Eye Bank Association of America
show that 42,642 corneas were transplanted for treatment of keratoconus, scars, and keratitis
(requiring penetrating keratoplasty) and for Fuchs dystrophy and other disorders affecting
endothelial function (requiring endothelial keratoplasty).
In addition to these common usages, cornea has properties now recognized as suitable for
other ocular procedures not requiring viable cells, including anterior lamellar keratoplasties,
glaucoma shunt coverage, injury repair, eccentric corneal ulceration, and a spacer for some
models of keratoprosthesis.
Corneal allograft tissue “… offers an adequate thickness of dense lamellar tissue conferring
high tensile strength and rigidity, suitable for repair of tectonic defects in the ocular wall”.
These properties “may render corneal patch grafts relatively resistant to infection and re-
melting… (Singh, 2008).
1 Singh M, Chew PT, Tan D. Corneal patch graft repair of exposed glaucoma drainage
implants. Cornea. 2008 Dec;27(10):1171-3. PMID 19034134