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    Bioengineered corneas may fulfill unmet need for human donor corneas

    Device could receive CE Mark in late 2015 for superficial and deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty

    Take-home message: The development of a bioengineered cornea may serve to provide corneas to the millions of people worldwide unable to obtain a human donor cornea.

     

    The World Health Organization estimates that more than 45 million people worldwide who are blind or severely visually impaired—with at least 10 million of those unilaterally or bilaterally blind from corneal disease or injury—would benefit from a corneal transplant.1

    Top-paying states for ophthalmic techs

    However, less than 150,000 corneal transplants are performed worldwide due to a shortage of transplantable corneas. Bioengineered corneas are showing great promise to fulfill a large part of this worldwide need.

    Penetrating and lamellar keratoplasty are used to treat a large number of diseases from corneal opacity, corneal thinning, corneal scars, trauma, and corneal dystrophies.

    Supply and demand

    Lack of healthcare funding and infrastructure for eye banking in many countries are major reasons for the shortage of donor eye tissue. In areas such as the United States and Europe, there is a network of eye banks that generally meet or exceed their local need.2,3

    For instance, data from the Eye Bank Association of America indicate that 128,600 whole eyes and corneas were donated in 2014 and a total of 76,341 were found to be suitable for corneal grafts. There were 46,253 corneal transplants performed in the United States in 2014 with the difference shared with other countries.

    Next: Alternatives to human cornea

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