The Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank has always told the public not to rule themselves out as donors. Even those with poor eyesight can be donors. A recent study has shown the quality of a donor's cornea may not be as important as previously thought. It means more people can potentially be eye donors.
The study, a subset of the National Cornea Donor Study, in which the Rocky Mountain Lions Eye Bank participated, shows that donor cell count of endothelial cells, previously considered to be an important predictor of a successful transplant, did not correlate with cornea transplant graft success.
Endothelial cells form the back layer of the cornea and keep the cornea clear and prevent it from swelling. Previously it was thought that the more endothelial cells/mm2 in the donor cornea, the better, which put pressure on the eye banks to have donors with the highest count possible to distribute to corneal surgeons. However, the SMAS findings show no correlation between it and a patient's graft success rate five-years post transplant, as long as the industry standard minimum of 2,000 cells/mm2 was met. The results of this study are published in the January issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.
"These new findings of the SMAS are excellent examples of evidence-based medicine impacting clinical practice," says Jonathan H. Lass, M.D., senior author of the study and Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and