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Subject One donor Cornea, Two Patients Helped: a New Strategy for Tackling Donor Shortage
Selection News Date 2020-01-16 Read 1010



One donor Cornea, Two Patients Helped:

a New Strategy for Tackling Donor Shortage



A team led by professor Eom Young-sub of Korea University Ansan Hospital stated on


the 18th that it successfully performed split-cornea transplantation using a single donor


cornea for 2 recipients.



Split-cornea transplantation combines Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK) and


Descemet's Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK). DALK involves selective


transplantation of the corneal stroma, leaving the native Descemet membrane and


endothelium in place, for patients with anterior stromal scars.



In DMEK, the isolated donor endothelium–Descemet’s membrane layer without any


stroma is transplanted for the treatment of corneal endothelial disorders.




Since in DALK, the donor endothelium-Descemet’s membrane layer is left over, and in


DMEK the anterior part of the donor button (including the epithelium, the stroma) is left


over, split cornea transplantation combining DALK and DMEK can restore eyesight in


two recipients.



A patient in his 60s with Fuchs’ dystrophy experienced corneal edema and clouding,


pain, and poor vision due to endothelial dystrophy. He could count fingers at 30cm pre-


op. His eye recovered after the surgery and post-op visual acuity was 20/40 and was


discharged home. Another patient in his 70s with corneal clouding due to childhood


phlyctena regained eyesight after DMEK from the same cornea.




Domestic corneal donation and transplantation are in a very difficult situation. The


number of corneal transplants is decreasing every year from 586 in 2016 to 357 in 2017


and 322 in 2018. However, 2184 people are waiting for a transplant with an average


waiting period of 2759 days; they are waiting for a transplant for 7 years and 6 months.




“The hospital is proactively performing keratoplasty using imported cornea and split-


cornea transplantation. We will continue our efforts to restore eyesight in as many


patients as possible,” Korea University Ansan Hospital stated.



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