The Latest Advancements in Corneal Transplant Surgery: a game-changer in eye-care
Corneal transplants were once the realm of science fiction. Today, they’re becoming—if not common—a regularly performed expert procedure. Indeed, the last figures from 2021, according to the Eye Bank Association of America, showed that an excess of 49,000 operations were carried out.
The following looks at what corneal transplant surgery involves and why today’s technology is making the procedure so successful.
All About Corneal Transplant Surgery
- What is corneal transplant surgery?
- What are the latest advances in corneal transplant surgery?
What is corneal transplant surgery?
A corneal transplant involves replacing the dome of clear tissue that makes up the front of the eye. This covers the pupil and iris (the black and colored portion of the eye) and acts as a protective screen for the delicate structures of the eye.
The cornea is made up of five layers of tissue. A corneal transplant can include all of these layers, a single one, or anything in between. Most transplants use donor tissue, but there are also artificial options.
What are the latest advances in corneal transplant surgery?
Only a few years ago, the only option for a corneal transplant was to have all five layers replaced. This is known as a full-thickness transplant. Over the last 10 years or so, technology has advanced to allow specific treatment that only targets the damaged layers.
This allows surgeons to provide treatment that is focused on the diseased or injured tissue, rather than a global approach. By isolating this, the procedure isn’t just more targeted, but might also have a faster recovery period.
This has become possible thanks to several reasons, including:
- More advanced laser development
- Innovative surgical procedures that cause less trauma to the surrounding tissues
- Thinner tissue grafts
- An increase in tissue banks, meaning there’s more availability and the tissue is prepared ready for the operation
Together, these have dramatically increased the number of corneal transplants carried out annually. In addition, thinner grafts and expertly prepared tissue samples also reduce the chances of the body rejecting the transplant.
Another very recent advancement has seen a newer technique enter the arena—one that doesn’t involve transplanting any tissue at all. Instead, it removes the diseased/injured area and introduces some of the patient’s own healthy tissue, thus promoting natural rejuvenation over the following weeks and months. This is known as “stripping”. While this is still in the early stages, it’s being successfully utilized in many cases where a partial or full corneal transplant would be too invasive.
Another option that’s still in the testing realm is that of advancing medication. There are some very successful tests surrounding the injection of cultured cells combined with a special type of medication. This supports the eye to reproduce healthy tissues, removing the need for a transplant altogether. The testing has been carried out by scientists in Japan with very promising results. Many ophthalmologists consider this to be one of the most exciting advances in the pipeline—one that could prove a complete game-changer when it comes to treating damaged or diseased corneas.
Corneal Transplant Surgery and Other Procedures are Cutting-Edge at the WBEC
The West Boca Eye Center is known throughout the country and the world as an advanced academic ophthalmology facility. Second-to-none facilities and industry experts mean that the clinic is often able to offer eye treatment that’s not yet hit the mainstream.
Whether you’ve been told you need a corneal transplant, are worried that you’re not a candidate for laser vision correction, need a cataract operation with another associated eye condition, or simply want the best overall care for your eyesight, the team is highly trained, and you’ll benefit from some of the best global expertise.
Discover more https://westbocaeyecenter.com/ and call today to book a consultation.
Corneal transplants were once the realm of science fiction. Today, they’re becoming—if not common—a regularly performed expert procedure.
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