A new study from India has found that one donated cornea may have the potential to treat three people with eye damage or disease.
Advances in surgical techniques now allow ophthalmologic surgeons to remove and replace only the diseased or damaged portion of the cornea.
According to the study by Rasik Vajpayee now at the University of Melbourne but formerly at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, a cornea from a man who died of cardiac arrest was used for transplants in three patients; the corneal tissue was divided into three parts, each part was then transplanted into different patients.
Dr. Vajpayee says the procedures were performed on the same day and were all successful and such surgical techniques provide an opportunity to make use of a single donor cornea in more than one patient and will help reduce the backlog of patients with corneal blindness in countries in which there is a dearth of good-quality donor corneal tissue.
In India alone 300,000 corneas are needed each year for transplants, but only 15,000 are available.
The cornea is a clear membrane in the front of the eye; the first reported cornea transplant was performed in 1905.
The research is published in the April issue of the journal Archives of Ophthalmology.