New Mexico Lions Eye Bank, 2501 Yale Boulevard SE, Suite 100, Albuquerque, NM 87106
Phone: 505-266-3937 Toll Free Phone: 888-616-3937
Copyright © 2011 New Mexico Lions Eye Bank. All Rights Reserved.
About Tissue Transplantation
What is the Cornea?
The cornea is the eye’s outermost layer - a thin, dome-shaped piece of tissue that covers the front of the eye and acts as the eye’s primary lens, controlling and focusing the light that enters the eye. Corneas can become damaged through infection, disease, or injury causing visual impairment and even blindness.
Cornea transplants are one of the most common human transplant procedures, with more than 30,000 performed each year in the United States. In a cornea transplant, the damaged cornea is replaced with healthy, donated tissue. Surgeons refer to a standard cornea transplant as Penetrating Keratoplasty.
New Techniques Bring Better Vision
In recent years, new cornea transplant procedures have been developed that replace only the damaged layer of cells instead of the entire thickness of the cornea in some patients. These surgical techniques, known as lamellar cornea transplants (the most common is Descemet’s Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty or DSAEK), offer better patient outcomes, according to surgeons, including faster healing times.
In a DSAEK procedure, damaged cells are removed from the recipient’s cornea, then a layer of the donated cornea is folded over and slipped into place through a small incision.
Dedicated to tissue safety, the New Mexico Lions Eye Bank maintains stringent standards for qualifying corneas for transplant. Our commitment to tissue safety begins with donor screening, including a review of medical records, a medical/social history interview, examination of the body, and a review of autopsy results when applicable. An extensive battery of blood tests is also performed to rule out a variety of potentially harmful infections.